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You know the difference between the law and justice, and that the two don’t always mean the same thing. Eric’s words to Bette on her first day as a detective replayed in his head like a mantra. After eleven years on the job, that notion sometimes not only meant bending the law but also breaking it. Today, he would do just that for her.
Lieutenant Joyce Wischnia and Agent Nate Prichard consulted each other in the corner of the interrogation observation room. Each whispered back and forth, then nodded in clear concurrence. They turned toward the gang.
“Do what you have to, but don’t put him in the hospital,” Joyce said.
“Do yourself a favor and make sure it doesn’t show beyond what you’ve already done,” Prichard said before closing the door behind him and Joyce, leaving only Eric, Bette and Tina to discuss how to extract out of Barnes information about Padrino.
Eric removed his jacket, then draped it over the back of a chair. He rolled up his sleeves, one at a time, evening each of the folds. He’d done this twice before in his career, reserving it as a last resort when the ticking clock worked against him. The previous time a missing child’s life hung in the balance, and he considered himself lucky to have returned her to her parents that same day. Tonight, he considered this missing girl family, and he would do whatever it took to find her.
“I’d prefer it if you two left.” Eric glanced first to Tina, then settled on Bette’s solemn face. Burdened by a debt he could never repay, this represented a chance to make a hefty down payment. He couldn’t let Bette see how far he would go to right what he had done.
“We’re partners, Eric.” Bette ran her tongue along the backside of her bottom teeth. “I should be in there with you.”
“What you don’t see, you can’t testify to.” Eric narrowed his eyes, preparing himself for the violence he would soon carry out. “I’ll let you know when it’s done.”
“Let’s go, babe.” Tina grabbed Bette’s hand. “I need a cup of coffee.”
They left and closed the door behind them, leaving now only Eric to do what had to be done.