Cut and run, p.30

Cut & Run, page 30

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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Page 30


  Zane would have laughed if he weren’t already so annoyed. These two assholes had been jerking them around for almost an hour now, making snide remarks about the victims and even more insulting comments about the FBI’s operation. “The only reason we’re in this meeting is to try to get some help. Like Pierce said, you’ve been here the whole time. No one else knows more about the case. The sooner you fill us in, the sooner all of us can be out there. ”

  Pierce smiled smugly. “All right, then, I’ll give you the rundown.

  Some of these cases are a serial, sure. But not all of them. How’s that for insight?”

  “Which ones don’t you think fit?” Ty demanded.

  “The drug addict, for one. The hooker, for sure. And the other two girls, the roommates. We did some digging; turns out they got around quite a bit,” Pierce told them.

  The hand Zane had on his thigh below the table clenched into a whitened fist. “Got around, huh?” he asked, voice deceptively quiet. Earlier comments about victim carelessness had been bad enough. This was enough to make Zane’s blood boil.

  “So what?” Ty asked nonchalantly, not even registering his partner’s annoyance. “They got around. So did your momma, but nobody dyed her hair purple and suffocated her. ”

  Pierce’s face twisted. “Asshole,” he snarled. “They got around a lot more than any self-respecting college girls ought to,” he insisted.

  “Christ,” Ty laughed incredulously. “Have you been to a college campus lately?” he asked.

  “We figure they were out hooking casual,” Pierce continued, undeterred, “and just got the wrong guy to take home. Fits. ”

  “What makes you think they were hooking?” Ty asked as he leaned forward and cocked his head.

  “Client list,” Pierce grunted.

  “Otherwise known as an address book?” Ty asked wryly.

  “Fuck you, Grady,” Pierce snarled.

  Zane could feel the fury just roiling in his stomach as his teeth ground together. He directed his question to Holleman. “Are you sure you don’t want to add something constructive to this conversation, to oh, I don’t know, make it worth more than a waste of oxygen?”

  “Unlike you two lovebirds, my partner and I tend to agree on these things,” Holleman answered calmly.

  “So,” Ty said loudly as he leaned forward in his seat. “You decided the two co-eds were hooking. That’s wonderful. Did you write them off immediately or did you attempt to track their relatively small circle of ‘casual clients,’ as you call them, and include it in the cross-reference done on all the 180

  acquaintances of the victims?” he asked pointedly.

  “Waste of time,” Pierce insisted. “Those so-called serial tokens—a real slim thread of shit holding these cases together, by the way—the one found with the girls was obviously a rip-off. Little plastic trinket rings. I mean, come on. Probably the guy got his rocks off, did a copycat, and went jonesing for another whore. ”

  “A copycat?” Ty repeated with a predatory smirk. “You mean you released that detail to the public? That he leaves meaningless tokens with his kills?” he drawled knowingly.

  Pierce stopped mid-breath. “I didn’t say that,” he barked.

  “Actually, yes, you did,” Zane snapped, unable to keep quiet any longer. “Just like you said you blew off common procedure for connecting murder cases. ”

  “Fuck off, Garrett. You got no idea what NYPD procedures require,”

  Pierce snapped.

  “Yeah, IQ over forty probably helps,” Ty drawled in amusement.

  Holleman held out a hand and glared at them. “Shut up, wiseass. The tokens have not been released to the general public, all right?” he told them.

  “At least you’ve done something intelligent,” Zane muttered. He knew he was quickly losing hold of his temper.

  “Something better than you two assholes, trying to lord it up over here in this ivory tower,” Pierce snarled at Ty. “If you and your little paper-pusher here even got out on the street to see a scene, I’d probably have a heart attack and die. ”

  “Promise?” Ty responded calmly. In contrast to the other men, Ty seemed to actually be enjoying the meeting, and that was just making the two detectives angrier. “Look, despite the fact that you’re idiots and I’m bored, we’re all working at the same thing here. You arrange for us to see some more scenes, we’ll consider your theory about a copycat,” he bargained. “Even though it’s fucking stupid,” he added after a brief pause.

  Pierce looked between the two men facing him before answering.

  “You know, Grady? You’re more annoying than I remember. You make Garrett here feel like a walk in the fucking park,” he said, almost pleasantly.

  “The Bureau had to dig real deep, I guess. You want to see the scenes? You go through the chief’s office and request access like everyone else. ”

  Holleman sighed slightly, shaking his head and closing his eyes.

  “Look, even if we could personally grant you access, which we can’t,” he was careful to inform the FBI agents as Pierce grew more and more ornery, “all of the scenes have long been released. There’s nothing to see anymore. ”

  His stubborn partner sat back, looking like he was chewing on a lemon.

  “There’s nothing for you to see,” Ty corrected with a pleasant smile.

  “You can’t tell me you think you’ve got some special skills or something to let you recreate a goddamn murder scene weeks or months old,”

  Pierce scoffed, his skepticism clear.

  “He’s got skills you couldn’t learn even with a cattle prod up your ass,” Zane said, temper boiling.

  Ty glanced at Zane but remained silent. He was slightly surprised to hear Zane defending him, and not a little flattered, but he didn’t want Zane snapping, not here.

  “Oh, how touching,” Pierce said with a goading laugh. “I got no reason to like you, Garrett, much less trust you and your skilled partner. You two Feebs come riding in here like Hell’s Angels expecting to pick up our cases and magically solve them. Well, I’m calling your bluff. No access to scenes, no goodwill, and no sharing of information. You want to chase off and try to find whoever those girls were fucking, you do it without us. ”

  His blood pressure rocketing, Zane stood up so fast his chair slammed back and hit the floor. “I need some fresh air,” he muttered as he stalked past the detectives to the door and walked out, letting it shut loudly behind him.

  Holleman watched the man storm out and then turned to Ty with a raised eyebrow. “Never thought I’d see the day when you were the calm part of the equation,” he remarked in amusement.

  “Yeah, well. I’m the calm one, you’re the smart one,” Ty sighed as he stood slowly. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa. ”

  Pierce sat back with a satisfied chuckle. “What’d you do to get stuck with that fucking suit?” he asked Ty.

  Ty walked around the table slowly, hands in his pockets as if he were idly wandering the room. He stopped behind Pierce’s chair and bent over him, placing a not-so-friendly hand on his shoulder. The man stiffened nervously, turning his head slightly as if he expected Ty to actually hurt him. “Be seein’

  y’all later,” Ty drawled in a low, friendly voice before he straightened back up and left the room.

  Pierce relaxed and gave a small sigh, shaking his head in annoyance.

  As soon as Ty had closed the door behind him, Holleman turned in his chair and glared at Pierce. “I know it’s fun to poke them, but Christ, man, what the hell?” he asked.

  Pierce snorted and waved his partner off. “They needed to be knocked off those damn high horses they always ride in on. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about a serious Fed investigation. ”

  Holleman frowned and shook his head. “I don’t know. Grady doesn’t seem to give a shit, but Garrett seemed pretty … into it. ”

; Pausing, Pierce turned to eye his partner. “Don’t let him fool you.

  I’ve had the rundown from Serena Scott on that one. Garrett used to be slightly useful, but now he’s got a bad record and gets shuffled around. He’s probably blowing somebody in DC. ”

  “Or he fucked Serena and ran off so she’s pissed,” Holleman pointed out in amusement. “Look, whatever. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than happy to hand this over to them. Let them chase their tails with this whackjob so we get back to our real jobs. ”

  “But they’re our cases in our backyard, and I don’t want them out there screwing around,” Pierce insisted.

  Holleman frowned slightly. “Why not?” he asked curiously.

  Pierce’s shoulders stiffened, and his face darkened. “’Cause Feebs don’t belong on the street. They make us all look bad, that’s why. And Garrett’s a prick. ”

  “So are you,” Holleman laughed fondly. “Come on. I’m hungry. ”

  Pierce muttered under his breath and followed his partner out.

  ZANE pushed roughly through the reading room door, ramming it back against the wall as he stalked in, immediately pulling out his cigarettes and lighting up. No smoking policy be damned, he thought darkly. After such a piss-poor day, he figured he deserved something for not going totally postal up there.

  After the first cigarette, he stopped long enough to light another and kicked a chair for good measure, sending it clattering across the room.

  Ty took his time following, visibly irritated enough that people got out of the way as he walked through the halls. He opened the door to the reading room—the only place he really knew to look—and was just in time to watch the little tantrum silently.

  “What the hell do you want?” Zane growled as he flicked ashes onto the industrial-grade carpet. He didn’t have to be polite to Ty. He didn’t even have to be civil.

  “What’s the problem?” Ty asked calmly, sliding his hands into the pockets of his khaki pants and leaning against the doorway.

  Zane turned his back to Ty to stare at the whiteboard. Some of their notes were still written on it from the day the computer exploded. He forcibly calmed himself and buttoned up the anger and frustration. “They’re assholes.

  That’s the problem. ”

  “I’ll tell them to go play in another sandbox, then,” Ty responded wryly.

  “They shouldn’t even be in the one they’ve got if they’re so blasé and uncaring as to suggest two young women deliberately lured the killer to their house for sex,” Zane spit out.

  “That’s how they’re programmed to think,” Ty responded in a patient voice.

  The unusually placid sound of Ty’s voice did the trick. Against Zane’s will—because he really wanted to stay angry—the heat drained out of him, replaced by a hollow chill. “I just kept thinking,” he said quietly, “about how scared those girls must have been. And here they are sitting and laughing and making light while that bastard is out there, probably picking out his next victim. ” He gave his head a tiny shake, taking another long drag on the cigarette.

  “Wait ’til he kills a few men in blue. Then they’ll be all over it,” Ty responded in the same calm, almost uncaring tone.

  Zane snorted and shook his head, taking another long drag. “Did they say anything after I left?”

  “Nothing about you, no,” Ty answered shortly. Looking over his shoulder, Zane raised a brow in question. Ty simply shrugged negligently and half-turned as if he was going to leave. “Food. ”

  Grinding his teeth, Zane dropped the cigarette, ground it under his shoe on the carpet, and followed along, chewing on his annoyance and trying 184

  to shove it where the sun didn’t shine so he could be Mr. FBI again. He wasn’t all too sure he would be successful.

  Ty strolled easily down the hall and glanced over his shoulder finally as he felt Zane catch up to him. “They enjoy getting in your craw, y’know,”

  he advised neutrally.

  “Yeah,” Zane muttered. “I used to be better about shrugging it off.

  Off my game. ”

  “No shit,” Ty responded wryly.

  Zane suddenly grinned. “Fuck off. ”

  “Sit on it and spin,"” Ty shot back as he pushed through a pair of security doors.

  “More your style lately,” Zane sniped.

  Ty stopped short, then he snorted and smiled slightly. “Got me,” he snickered good-naturedly.

  Zane chuckled, relief washing through him after the stressful day, and pulled out the car keys. “Have to catch up; I’m behind,” he said with a shrug.

  He hit the key fob button as they approached from across the garage.

  A few moments later and a few steps closer, the car exploded in front of them.

  The bomb set off a chain of reactions that Ty observed in a detached sort of “I think my arm is on fire” manner after they both hit the concrete. Car alarms began to scream, sprinklers overhead kicked on as the flames from the wreck of the car licked at the cement ceiling, alarms blared inside the government building behind them, and bits of flaming plastic and bent metal rained down amidst the smoke. Soon, they heard running footsteps—dress shoes smacking on cement—and shouts from voices Ty didn’t recognize as sirens began to wind up in the distance.

  Zane shook his head as he sat up. “Fuck. This just got a hell of a lot worse,” he muttered as he turned to his side to look at Ty, flat on his back.

  “You okay?”
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