Authors: Dahlia Rose
One Tough Cop
One Tough Cop
Copyright © October 2013 Dahlia Rose
Cover Art by For The Muse Design
Formatting by Bob Houston eBook Formatting
All rights are reserved. No part of this e-book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Of course it had to be a night where the rain poured down in sheets and the Jets were on TV that he was called in. Maxwell got out of the precinct at seven o’clock, and after picking up Italian take-out from his favorite restaurant he planned to sit in his leather recliner, watch the Jets, and drink a beer or two. It wasn’t even the first quarter and his cell phone rang. They needed him for a hostage situation at a women’s shelter, which set an edge to his teeth right away. He had very little patience for men who put their hands on women. Even less for men who’d break into a safe haven that the women could go to when they got brave enough to leave. Max shrugged into his leather coat on the hook by the door, then picked up his black duffle bag from by the door where it always sat, ready and packed. He hadn’t even had time to get his boots off. In the Army they were his shit kickers, but now in the NYPD he kicked a different kind of shit. Regardless of whether it was two in the afternoon or two in the morning, he’d be up and ready when the call came. He was part of one of the finest units in the country, there was nothing like the New York police department SWAT team.
Damn, and it was supposed to be a good game too.
The shelter was in lower Manhattan, close to One Police Plaza where he worked. He knew it was there kind of off-handedly. The director had come in one day and told them they had to take a course in handling the victims. Most of those women were so bruised that the sight of a man made them flinch. But the shelter was in a secret location, and not even the women knew where it was half the time until they were taken there and given a safe place to stay.
Haven Hope was the name of the facility, but there wasn’t a sign announcing the fact. It was a three-story brick building donated by some big corporation and renovated with hotel-style rooms to give the women privacy. The sanctuary also had communal eating and living areas for everyone to share and give a sense of family.
He was supposed to negotiate with the bastard inside, but what he really wanted to do was to go in there and beat his face in with the butt of his gun. Max made no bones about it and felt no remorse. He hated abusive men. He pulled up to the scene and his partner was waiting. They’d been friends for years and now they were partners as well. Jones wasn’t a pretty man, he reminded Max of a troll doll, down to the curly red hair. But he was a husband and a father of three. Apparently Jackie saw something in that ugly mug to love. Make no bones about it, when Jones was on the job he was a mean-ass cop. Flashing red and blues and big floodlights lit the scene and as he suited up Jones filled him in.
“What’s the low down?” Max pulled his vest over his head and then fit an earpiece in his ear.
“Guy walked in there looking for his wife and kid.” Jones chewed on the end of a straw, his usual habit that drove Max crazy. “She’s not even here, she’s upstate with her sister and moving to Maine to be away from this asshole. He didn’t take no for an answer and the director managed to get most of the women and children out. But the director is in there with another woman, nine months pregnant, ready to drop the kid any day now.”
“Shit,” Max muttered. “How many entrances and exits?”
“One main entrance and a back door, a side entrance, and the fire escape up the side to windows on each floor. He has them on the first floor so we can breach through the fire escape if necessary,” Jones explained. “We’ve got eyes on him through fiber optics. The doors aren’t wired and neither is he, not the smartest tool in the shed. He just picked up a gun and went in. He’s got it pointed to the stomach of the pregnant woman. The director is tied to a chair and she’s been hit a few times.”
Max nodded and cracked his neck. “Let’s do this.”
Together they ran from his car to the SWAT tactical truck that was parked close by the building. He sat in his seat and psyched himself up to be the negotiator, the one who had all the answers and everything the perp needed. Until every option was run through he’d be the guy’s best friend, his confessor, his priest, whatever the fuck he needed. Then if it went bad, he would be justice and he’d do whatever was necessary to get the hostages to safety.
Max picked up the telephone and played the game. The phone rang and hung up a dozen times before he got the guy to answer. When he did, he listened to the screamed threats and the demands silently until the guy ran out of breath. It was only then that he spoke, making sure he’d be heard clearly.
“Hey guy, calm down. I’m Sergeant Max Kincaid and I’m here to get you out of this mess. Are you good, do you need something to eat, maybe a six pack of beer?” Max laughed casually and took a breath. “I had two cold ones and the Jets game on when this call came in so I know the feeling if you do.” He stopped and listened to the screaming again, only speaking when he had silence. “Let me help you, buddy, so start from the beginning. Who are you looking for?”
He’d begun the dance, all the while assessing the situation for if and when it went ugly. In the background he could hear the sobs of a terrified woman and her pleas.
Don’t hurt my baby, please.
Then and there he made the decision to go in if it turned bad. Somehow the plea struck him and he felt in his heart he was meant to save her. Which was unusual, because Max would be the first to tell anyone that he had no heart at all.
* * * *
Five hours later, the guy was building himself up to a frenzy again. Max could tell this fucker was on something or had some kind of mental problem. He had too many highs and lows; one minute he was laughing, the next he was crying, and then he had severe anger. They were getting nowhere fast and the situation wasn’t getting any better for the hostages. Soon after he made contact the pregnant hostage cried out that her water had broken. The stress had put her in active labor, so now not only was he listening to this asshole rant but the painful cries of a woman with no medical intervention and in pain.
“Walter listen to me, we can get you everything you asked for, even the Super Bowl tickets.” Max rolled his eyes. “But you hear that woman you’ve got a gun to, she’s in pain and she’s bringing a child into the world. Like your wife did to your son, doesn’t her baby deserve a chance too?”
“Get my wife and kid here and I’ll consider it,” Walter the perp snapped. “If not I put a bullet in her and her squalling will stop right quick. But I want the Super Bowl tickets first, so I can take my kid.”
Max heard the director talking to Walter. “Listen, her contractions are very close, please untie me so I can help her.”
“Shut up bitch!”
He heard the strike as Walter hit her and the director cried out. That was it, Max had had enough.
“Listen cop, get my money and my tickets and a car then have my wife ready to meet me at her sister’s. Bitch should know she couldn’t leave me!” Walter screamed.
Max threw down his receiver. “Okay, we’re going in. Prepare for breach.”
Jones threw down his straw. “About time, he was seriously getting on my nerves.”
“Take over,” Max ordered another man on the team. “You keep him talking. Jones, breach the back door with the hydro bar. We’re going in on the second floor. Deploy a flash bang when I give the signal, and we’ll take him down hard when he’s distracted.”
“Ten-four on that chief,” Jones said.
When they stepped out of the mobile unit the rain was coming down in droves. Fall had a way of bringing all kinds of weather. Freaking tornados in Brooklyn and Hurricane Sandy destroyed the city last year. Instead of fall leaves falling to the ground they were being blown off by the wind and washed down the drain. He looked up into the sky for a moment before meeting the team behind the mobile unit. The patrolmen who were manning the floodlights turned them off. In the darkness the only thing that Max could see of the man before him was the wet sheen of his vest and the bright SWAT letters. Using hand signals, he directed the men. He was behind the guy who would make first entry into the window. Max’s gun was trained and ready when they cut the glass out. Each of them moved inside. They were slow and moved with stealth, always on the lookout, and each man’s gun was trained on anything that might jump out. Since they knew exactly where Walter was they could move in that direction without clearing each room. In the darkness, he could make out toys, a crib, and baby diapers on a chest of drawers.
Jesus, the women here must have been
out of their fucking minds
, Max thought angrily. He tapped the man in front and he stepped back so Max could take the lead. Each step down the stairs from the hallway Max hoped wouldn’t creak. Luckily they didn’t make a sound. Outside the main room they stopped. He saw Jones and the second half of the team coming in the door down the hall.
He put his hand on the doorknob and when Jones nodded that he was ready Max turned the knob slowly. With one sudden move Jones threw the flashbang canister inside and it went of instantly. It was meant to confuse the assailant with noise, light, and smoke. Walter screamed, and Max and his team made entry to take down the assailant.
“Gun down, gun down!” Max yelled the order.
Walter was waving the gun frantically and the pregnant woman managed to crawl out of harm’s way.
“Drop it, Walter, now, do it now,” Max demanded a second time.
Instead, Walter swung the gun in his direction and Max had no choice, nor did he feel any guilt about his action. He and Jones double-tapped Walter and dropped him cold. One shot to the head and one to the heart. Walter was dead before he hit the ground. With the target eliminated they moved into the room quickly and secured it. Jones and Max went to work on the ties that held the director to the chair.
“Get her, deal with her,” the director gasped. “Her contractions are so close she’s going to deliver here and now.”
“That’s why we’re getting you loose lady,” Jones said.
“No, he broke my arm, one of you will have to do it, and my name is Karen,” she snapped.
Max moved away from her and went to the lady on the floor. She shrank away and whimpered like a wounded animal in pain. Something lurched in Max’s chest. He dropped his weapon and got on his knees in front of her, holding up his hands.
“I’m not here to hurt you,” Max spoke low and kept his voice even. “I swear no one will ever hurt you again, okay. But I need to check you, and help deliver your baby. You need help and I promise everything will be okay.”
Who was the man making a promise to this woman?
Max wondered. Her hair was tousled and her dark skin was shining with sweat. Her soft brown eyes were filled with fear and pain. Her lips trembled and tears streamed down her cheeks. She struck an emotional trigger in him and he wanted to protect her. He tried to move closer but again she shrugged away. A contraction hit her and she bit her lip to keep from moaning. He saw grit in her bravery and strength because even as her eyes told him it hurt, she didn’t scream.
“Honey, I need to see if your baby is okay,” Max tried again. “Think about your baby, is it a boy or girl?”
“B-boy… it’s a boy.” Her answer was so soft he barely heard it.
“Do you have a name picked out?” Max asked.
“After Jules Verne?” he asked.
She nodded and Max grinned. “I like it. What’s your name?”
“Nicole,” she answered more easily. “Nicole Henry.”
“Well Nicole, you’re in pain and Jules here wants out, so how about you let me give him a hand?” Max asked gently.
She nodded and Max approached. He slipped one hand under her legs and arms, lifting her gently.
“Jones, get EMTs in here as soon as you clear the building,” Max said. He knew it was empty but it was standard procedure.
“Roger that, Sarge.” Jones left the room and the other men followed.
“Take her to the sofa,” Karen the director said. “Some baby blankets are in that bag over there from her baby shower today.”
Max lay her down as easily as he could and she began to pant again. He knew he had to hurry. He grabbed the blankets and went back to where Nicole lay. “Sorry, nothing personal,” he said as he reached under her maternity dress and stripped her panties down her legs. When he looked between her legs, the baby’s head had crowned and dark curly hair was evident.
“Okay Nicole, you need to push and push hard. Jules is almost here,” Max encouraged.
“What kind of life can I give him? I let myself be beaten and became a victim. I have nothing to my name, everything was taken from me.” Nicole leaned her head back and she clenched her hands into the cushion. “I am already the worst parent ever.”
“No you’re not, you got out and you got help,” Max said firmly. “Hey, look at me, you’ll make and you’ll be a great mother. He has you and as long as he has that nothing else matters. Now push okay? Please push.”
She tucked her head to her chest and pushed. She moaned but each time Max encouraged her to do it just one more time, Nicole did. He watched her son slip from her body, cleaned his mouth out, and wrapped him up just as the EMTs rushed into the room. He heard the loud angry cry and thought,
, as the emergency tech cut the umbilical cord and placed the tiny new life in his mother’s arm. On her way out on the ambulance gurney she caught his hand in hers and squeezed it tightly.
“Thank you,” she said.
Max watched her being wheeled away and felt something in his life shift. His unspoken dreams came to life and caused a change and when his heart beat it felt almost painful. What just happened? He’d been told thank you so many times that it was almost routine. What was it about this time and about her that caused these unusual feelings?
“Another point in the win column,” Jones said and came up and slapped him on the shoulder.
“Yeah I guess so,” Max said.
He heard the bemused sound of his own voice and the internal assessment started again. He went through the routine of clean up, reports, and talking to his superiors. There would be a few days where his weapon would be confiscated to run tests, because even though it was a justified shooting standard procedure prevailed. Through all of it his mind was on Nicole Henry and her new baby son. Finally at home he kicked off his boots and walked tiredly in the bedroom. The beer on his coffee table was probably flat and warm. He didn’t care about the dinner he didn’t get to eat or the score of the Jets game. Max fell across his bed and fell asleep almost instantly. Instead of the usual darkness that he was accustomed to, Max dreamt and the scenes were filled with Nicole’s wide, soft brown eyes staring back at him.