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Losing the walking boot gave Bette a rush, but Lieutenant Wischnia insisted she ride a desk a few more days. “No sense in rushing things, Monday will be soon enough,” Wischnia had said. Now, she’d have to wait until the end of the day to follow up on the information Miguel Rojas had provided.
With nothing more to do other than review old files, concentrating on work posed a harder task than she expected. While Eric caught up on cases he’d worked on when she recuperated at home, Bette turned on the radio, hoping music would help her focus. However, wall-to-wall coverage of the dozen wildfires plaguing northern California had interrupted her favorite radio stations. Overnight, fire had destroyed hundreds of structures, and authorities reported several deaths.
Hearing about death and destruction made passing the time harder. Her mind bounced back and forth between the Santoses and Caco, and both topics posed trouble. Luiz could try to contact Reagan while Wischnia had her chained to a desk, and that scared her. Caco, though, had her unnerved. She feared she was on a collision course with him, and one of them wouldn’t survive.
“I’ve had enough of this.” Bette pushed back her chair, then stomped to the window and turned off the radio.
Eric reached into his desk drawer, pulled out a Snickers bar and tossed it to Bette.
“What’s this for?”
“You get a little cranky when you’re hungry.”
Bette forced a grin. “Ha ha ha.” She was hungry and ripped open the package and gnawed off a big chunk of the candy bar. The sweet and salty combination did little to curb the edge she’d been on all morning.
After returning to her desk, Bette clicked on her official email for the twentieth time. The cellular provider had yet to forward her the records on the mystery burner phone, and her patience had worn thin. She did, however, open a new email from the SFPD personnel division.
Her chest tightened with a sharp intake of breath when she read the words. ‘Our records show you listed Avery Santos as your sole beneficiary for your life insurance policy…’ Just when she started to heal, this picked at the scab.
Hoping to hold it together until she reached the seclusion of the ladies’ restroom, she bounded from her chair. Without as much as a single word to her partner, she zoomed past the maze of crisscrossed desks and dozen detectives. With Wischnia and half the staff already suspecting she’d come back too soon, she couldn’t fall apart in front of the entire division.