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Authors: Death Stalks the Law

Teresa Watson (10 page)

Owen pulled out his knife and sliced my pants leg up to my thigh. “It’s a through and through,” he said as he took off his belt to use as a tourniquet. “You’ll be ok. Trix, go to my car and call for another ambulance. Ask the crew that is already out there to come in here.”

Trixie hurried off while Owen removed the ropes and put handcuffs on Debra. I felt cold all of a sudden and began to shiver. T.J. wrapped his arms around me, trying to keep me warm. “You’re just as crazy as she is, you know,” he said.

“Would you prefer she had shot you?”

“Better than seeing you get shot.”

The ambulance crew came in at that point, so I didn’t have to say anything else to him. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure what to say. My emotions were all over the place, but they were quickly replaced by pain as the paramedics treated my leg.

They loaded me onto a backboard and carried me out of the barn to the stretcher that was next to the back of the ambulance. Trixie came over and squeezed my hand. “I’ll meet you at the hospital. Do you want me to tell your mother?”

“Please don’t. I can’t handle her tonight. She would just hover all over me, and then insist that I go home with her. There’s no way I am doing that.”

“No problem. I’m pretty sure they are going to keep you for a day or two. Maybe you’ll meet some cute orderly to take your mind off your troubles.”

“You mean you’re hoping some cute orderly is hanging around my room so you can get a date,” I laughed.

“Whatever works,” she said. “I’m glad you’re okay. I would really hate to have to replace my best friend.”

“I’m one of a kind. You can’t replace me,” I told her as they loaded me into the ambulance.

T.J. rode in the ambulance with me. “I don’t need the company,” I said.

“They want me to get some x-rays on my ribs to make sure they aren’t broken,” he said. “They put Debra in the other ambulance.”

“Oh.”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Saving my life.”

“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

“Did you mean what you said?”

“Yes.”

“Me, too,” he said.

“It doesn’t change anything,” I told him. “You’re still a jerk.”

“I know.”

“I guess you’ll be moving back to Dallas now that your assignment is over.”

“I don’t know.”

“So what Hopkins said was true?”

“Regarding what?”

“He told me that you were thinking about resigning and staying here permanently.”

“I thought about it.”

I stared at him for a moment. “I’m just curious, but what did you think was going to happen once I found out you were undercover.”

“To be honest, I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”

I felt the ambulance jerk to a stop. “Well, you’d better think about it, Agent Roosevelt, because the time has come to face the music. I’m not the only one who is going to be upset about this. Everyone in this town trusted you. I don’t think they are going to be too happy about being used, either.”

He looked down at the floor and didn’t say anything. The back doors of the ambulance opened, and he got out. “Goodbye, Agent Roosevelt. I’m glad you got what you came here for.”

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Two

I didn’t see him again once we got inside. They sent him to x-ray, while they took me first to an exam room, and then to surgery.

When I woke up the next morning, the first person I saw was Iris Griswell. “I hope you don’t mind, Lizzie,” she said. “I heard what happened last night, and I just wanted to make sure that you were doing okay.”

“No, ma’am, I don’t mind at all,” I said. “I’m a bit surprised, though.”

“I’m a bit surprised myself,” she admitted. “My husband and I just got back into town from our annual winter trip to Florida. When I went into the café this morning, everyone was talking about it.” I groaned. “Don’t worry, no one is saying anything bad about you. They are a bit surprised about the whole situation. Some of them are a bit upset about T.J., but most are understanding.”

“That’s good. For T.J., I mean.”

She patted my hand. “I know how it feels to have someone betray you, Lizzie. It is a pain that doesn’t go away quickly. I just wanted you to know that if you need to talk, I’ll be glad to listen. Just between us. Gladys won’t hear a word of it.”

“That’s very kind of you, Iris,” I said, squeezing her hand. “I may take you up on that once I’m up and around.”

She stood up. “If there is anything you need, just let me know.”

As she was leaving, Jake came rushing into the room. He bent over and gave me a big kiss. When he stood up, I looked at Iris, who was still standing in the doorway. Her eyes were as big as saucers. Odds were good that Gladys would hear about this in the next ten minutes. “What do you think you’re doing, Jake?”

“I was worried to death about you last night,” he said, sitting down in the chair. “They wouldn’t let me see you because they had taken you to surgery. I didn’t sleep all night.”

“Well, as you can see, I’m just fine. What time is it?”

“Almost ten. I’ve been in the waiting room all night. Several people have come by to see you: your mother, Owen, that friend of yours, Trixie, and some federal agents. The nurses wouldn’t let any of us come in here.”

“I don’t want to see any of them but Trixie,” I said. “Could I have some water?”

He poured some into one of the small glasses and handed it to me. “Your mother told me they had to give you a new cast for your broken arm. I guess it got cracked in the scuffle last night. And speaking of last night, just what in the name of all that is holy do you think you were doing?”

“What I had to do.”

“I thought Owen told you girls to call for help if you found her.”

“There wasn’t time. Besides, you would have tried to talk me out of it.”

“Yes, I would have! Look what happened to you!”

“I don’t need a lecture, Jake. I’m sure my mother will take care of that at some point.”

“Once she finished crying, she was pretty ticked off at you.”

“It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last. What did Owen want?”

“He wanted to see how you were doing. They’ve got that aunt of yours locked in a room upstairs somewhere. She’s being treated for a concussion. Apparently being hard-headed runs in your family. He said she was lucky she didn’t get a cracked skull from that hit she took from Trixie.”

“Hm.”

“Agent Roosevelt has been discharged. Just some bruised ribs. I saw him leave last night.”

“Okay.”

Jake watched me for a minute. “That’s all you’re going to say?”

“What do you want me to do?” I said. “Cry like a baby?”

“You’re certainly entitled.”

“I’m sure in some way, you’re enjoying this. Karma coming back to bite me in the…”

“I didn’t say that,” Jake said, “nor am I even thinking it.”

“Uh-huh.”

“What happened between us years ago is totally different from this situation. I never used you to capture someone or to get a story.”

“Why are you here, Jake? In Brookdale, I mean.”

“Because I was hired to do a job.”

“And the fact that I’m here is just a side benefit?”

“I look at it as an opportunity to find out if I still love you, and if you still love me.”

“What happens when you figure out that we don’t love each other anymore?”

“Then I hope we remain good friends,” he said. His phone buzzed at that moment. “I’ve got to go. Deadline to meet.” He stood up, moved close to the bed, leaned over and kissed me on the forehead. “Take care, Lizzie. I’ll be back later to check on you. Let me know if there is anything you need.”

The only thing I needed was some peace and quiet. Alas, I didn’t get it.

Owen showed up a few minutes after Jake left, carrying a bouquet of roses. “You’re awake,” he said, placing the flowers on the window sill. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I’ve been run over by a few Mac trucks.”

He laughed. “I felt that way the first time I got shot. It will go away in a few days.”

“Thanks for the encouragement.”

He sat down. “First of all, what you did last night was stupid and reckless, and to drag my sister into it is unforgiveable. I don’t know what you two were thinking last night. I told you to let me know if you found anything.”

“If I had, you would have rallied the troops and gone out there with guns blazing. She would have killed T.J., and probably one or two of your deputies, possibly you, since you are on her list of enemies. I figured if I talked to her, I had a better chance of saving him and catching her.”

“That’s why we have professional hostage negotiators.”

“And by the time one had gotten here from Dallas, T.J. would have been dead for sure, and she probably would have escaped into the woods behind the barn.”

“You make a good point, but that doesn’t excuse what you did.”

“You’ve got a lot of nerve to sit there and judge me, Owen Greene,” I said. The heart monitor I was hooked up to started to beep a little faster. “You knew the whole time that T.J. was working undercover, spying on me, and you never once told me. Don’t dare come in here, chewing me out because I stepped over the line to save someone’s life!”

“I did what I had to do.”

“So did I!” The beeping from the monitor speeded up. “You don’t have any right to come in here and pass judgment on me for doing something that you and those bungling agents couldn’t do!”

“Calm down, Lizzie. Your monitor is going nuts. The nurse is going to come in here, thinking I’m trying to suffocate you with a pillow or something!”

I took a few deep breaths, but it took a couple of minutes for the incessant beeping to slow down. “I can’t believe you turned your back on our friendship to catch a killer.”

“My job comes first; everything else, including family and friends, comes second. Do you think I liked the idea of using you? I hated it every single day. But there was nothing I could do about it. Debra Cosgrove is a dangerous criminal, and we did whatever we had to in order to catch her.”

“I hope the price was worth it, Owen. I really do. If you don’t mind, I’d like to get some rest.”

He got up to leave. “For what it’s worth, Lizzie, I’m truly sorry. I’ve always thought of you as another sister.”

After he left, the phone in my room rang. “Hello?”

“Hello, Lizzie,” Debra said. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“I’ve been shot in the leg. How do you think I feel?”

“Sorry about that. It wasn’t intentional.”

“Good to know,” I said. “Is there something I can do for you?”

“I just wanted to make sure you were okay, since you and I can’t see each other right now.”

“I’m sure I’ll see you at the trial. The government will probably call me as a material witness.”

She laughed. “There won’t any trial, Lizzie.”

“What do you mean?” For a minute, I thought she was planning to commit suicide.

“Well, any minute now, they are going to find that poor orderly stuffed in the wardrobe cabinet in my room. All they did was put me in a regular room. They don’t have a prison ward here. It wasn’t hard to get out.”

“What do you mean ‘get out’? Are you telling me you’re on the run again?”

“Give the girl a crumbled cookie!”

“You can’t keep running forever, you know,” I told her. “They will catch you someday, and they will make sure you don’t get away the next time.”

“Perhaps,” she said. “But until then, I’m going to enjoy life. By the way, you really need to get better locks on your doors.”

“Did you break into my house again? I just had those locks replaced!”

“Better luck next time then,” she laughed. “I left a little something for you on the kitchen table. I’m very impressed with the way you stood up to me last night. But a word of advice: don’t do it again.”

“Don’t put me in a situation where I’ll have to.”

“I’ve got to get going. Places to go, people to see, things to do.” She hung up.

Owen came rushing back into my room. “You won’t believe this…”

“She got away.”

He stared at me. “How the heck could you POSSIBLY know that?! I just found out a couple of minutes ago!”

“How else? She called me.”

“Did she say where she was going?” I shook my head. “Would you tell me if she had told you?”

“Darn good question, Owen. At this point, I just don’t know.”

He glared at me before he stormed out of the room.

I hope she finds the peace and quiet she is looking for.

But something tells me peace and quiet is not in my near future.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The daughter of a Methodist minister, I’ve spent most of my life in Texas and New Mexico. I graduated from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in 2000. Among my many titles, I am a daughter, sister, granddaughter, mother, wife, freelance editor and writer. I currently live in North Texas with my husband and son.
Death Stalks the Law
is my third novella.

I enjoy hearing from you! Follow me on Twitter (@jamersmom), my Facebook page (
www.facebook.com/teresaleewatson
), or send me an email at [email protected].

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