Major Crimes, page 9
Cain nodded at them, keeping his sidearm behind the door. “Officers.”
One of the officers held up a piece of paper. “We have a warrant for the arrest of Hayley Green for violation of her parole. Intel indicated that she was inside this house.”
What the hell?
“There’s been some mistake. I’m federal law enforcement, and I was given a court order allowing the easement of Ms. Green’s parole restrictions, specifically concerning her use of computers.”
“Is Ms. Green in the house, sir?” the second cop asked.
“Look, just let me get my badge and the court order.”
Cop One stuck his hand out to stop Cain from closing the door. “Is Ms. Green in the house?”
Damn it. This was about to get out of hand.
“She is.” Cain looked from one man to the other. “Also, you should be warned that I’m currently holding a firearm.”
The tension in the cops skyrocketed as Cain lowered the hand holding the gun hidden behind the door. He kept it very loosely by his side, trying to show he meant no harm.
As he’d been afraid of, Cain’s lack of threat didn’t seem to matter to these guys. Both had their weapons drawn and pointed at him.
Cop One took a step back. “Hands up in the air. Right now.”
Cain raised them, keeping his hand over the muzzle of the gun rather than at the trigger. He hoped they could see there was no way he could shoot them like this. But tensions were high with police officers all over the country. No cop wanted to take a chance with a stranger with a gun in his hand.
“I’m going to hand this to you, all right?” Both of these troopers were young. Cain didn’t want to give them any excuse to use excessive force. “Then I will get my law enforcement credentials and we can work this out.”
“Cain, what’s going on?”
Cop One threw the door open wide at Hayley’s words and aimed his firearm at her. Guy looked a little nervous. “Get your hands up! Do you have a gun?” he demanded of Hayley, although with both hands empty it seemed obvious she didn’t.
“No.” Hayley raised her arms, getting paler by the second. “What’s going on?”
Cop Two, a little more calm than his buddy, turned to her. “Are you Hayley Green?”
“We have a warrant for your arrest, for violation of your parole.”
Cain could feel her eyes on him. “Cain?”
Damn it, her voice sounded so scared.
He gave her the most reassuring smile he could muster. “We’re going to get this worked out.”
He turned to the officers. “Look, what’s your name?” he said to the more calm one.
“I’m Cain Bennett. I work for Omega Sector, federal law enforcement. Hayley Green is my authorized consultant for a case. Like I said, I have a court order giving her temporary freedom from her tracking anklet.”
“I understand that, sir, but that’s going to have to be addressed down at central booking. Our instructions were to bring her in.”
The other guy strode past Cain, weapon still raised, and turned Hayley forcefully against the hallway wall. “Put your hands on the wall and spread your legs.”
The guy wasn’t brutal, but he definitely wasn’t gentle as he pushed Hayley’s chest into the wall with a hand on her shoulder blades as he put his sidearm back into its holster.
Frustration burned through Cain as he saw a tear fall down Hayley’s terrified face. The cop jerked back one of her arms, then the other, cuffing them.
“Be cool, Brickman,” Perowne muttered.
“You just keep your eye on supercop over there.” Brickman began reading Hayley her rights as he ran his hands up her legs to make sure she wasn’t hiding any weapons, then patted down her sides and chest.
Another tear fell, all color gone from her face completely. Cain was actually afraid she might faint.
“Hayley, it’s okay. We’re going to get this worked out. Do you hear me?”
She nodded just slightly.
Short of violently disarming the cops, which Cain might’ve done if it wouldn’t have put Hayley at risk, there was nothing he could do. Although it went against every protective grain in his body, Cain was going to have to let them take her.
Brickman continued to use a hand on Hayley’s shoulder to keep her pushed up against the wall while he turned to Cain. It was a punk move just to show his power.
It took all of Cain’s considerable willpower not to show Brickman just how precious his position of power really was when he heard Hayley’s soft whimper.
“Cut it out, Paul,” Perowne said. “Take her to the car.”
Cain touched Hayley’s arm as the officer walked her by. “I’ll be right behind you.”
“If you can show me your credentials, I can give this back to you.” Perowne holstered his own weapon and lifted Cain’s.
Cain got his ID from the counter and showed it to the other man, along with the court order.
Perowne handed him back his gun. “Agent Bennett, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. And that court order looks official, so I don’t know exactly what the problem is. Like I said, if you can come to the courthouse, hopefully you can get everything worked out.”
Cain handed the man Hayley’s anklet. “You’ll need this.”
The cop just nodded and they walked outside together. Cain could see Hayley fighting back tears from the back seat of the squad car, her arms at an awkward angle thanks to the cuffs.
He wasn’t letting her return to jail. Watching her go the first time, even when he’d known she’d been guilty, had taken everything he had. There was no way he was letting it happen now.
* * *
FEAR WAS A fist in Hayley’s throat, blocking her airway. She tried to think through the panic. This was just a misunderstanding. Some sort of paperwork glitch. Cain would get it worked out.
Cain, the man who had just found out she’d had his child and hadn’t told him. The man who still didn’t trust her.
Panic crashed over her again.
“You know, some people just never readjust to life on the outside. Will do anything to get thrown back in,” the same policeman who had put the cuffs on her said, his leer evident from the front seat. “Guess you must be one of those.”
The reasonable part of her brain told her to just ignore him, but the terror wouldn’t let her. “Please. This is some sort of mistake. I had authorization to take off the anklet.”
“Is that so? You’d be amazed at how many people are ‘authorized’ to do whatever they want to, right up to the point where they get caught.”
The handcuffs pulled at her shoulder blades, making sitting in the car uncomfortable and reminding her that she swore she would never be back in this position again. How long would they keep her? She needed to call Ariel and let her know what was going on. Did she need a lawyer? And where was the other officer who had his gun pointed at Cain? What was taking them so long?
Finally the other officer walked out the door with Cain behind him. Hayley’s eyes devoured Cain’s face, hoping to find a glimpse of good news, that he’d been able to convince these men of their official work.
“Ends up Agent Bennett is, in fact, federal law enforcement, and does have what looks like a legitimate court order for the removal of the tracking device,” the nice cop—Hayley knew Cain had asked his name but she couldn’t remember it—said.
Bad Cop just snickered. “Not my problem. They’re going to have to fight it out downtown.”
“I told him the same.”
Hayley’s eyes flew to Cain’s again as he walked closer to the car.
“Hey, back off,” Bad Cop said. “I don’t care who you work for.”
“Chill out, Brickman, for crying out loud,” Good Cop muttered.
Hayley nodded. Everything in his green eyes told her she could trust him. He would handle this.
“Okay,” she said softly. It was all she could do. Her life was in his hands now. She prayed trusting him wasn’t the biggest mistake she’d ever made.
Cain called Ren on the way to the courthouse.
“Cain, you know we’re not dating, right? I talk to you more than I talk to some of my girlfriends.”
Any other time Cain would’ve harassed Ren about his love life, but the look in Hayley’s eyes as she had sat in that squad car had crushed all ability for humor in him.
“State troopers came and arrested Hayley a few minutes ago for violation of her parole, having to do with the anklet.”
He heard Ren’s muttered curse. “The court order was legit. What the hell happened?”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out. Something’s not right here, man.”
“Damn straight. She’s only had the thing off for what, thirty-six hours? That’s pretty quick to pounce on a nonviolent parolee. Let me see what I can find out.”
Cain could hear a keyboard clacking away. Ren’s curse was quite a bit more foul when it came a few minutes later.
“What?” Cain asked.
“You still got a hard copy of that court order?”
“Because our entire petition and agreement from the judge has been completely erased from the system.”
“What the hell? How does that happen?”
“It doesn’t, Cain. Not unless someone gets inside the system and deliberately erases it.”
Now it was Cain’s turn to curse. “Is it the Omega mole? Does he know we’re onto him? Or Damien Freihof? He’s been one step ahead of us this entire time.”
“It will take a while to backtrack this and figure out who did it. Ironically your gal Hayley would be the best one to do that.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t think they’re going to let me take my laptop into her cell.” Cain gritted his teeth as he changed lanes to lead him into the parking lot of the criminal courthouse. “And I can’t get the help I need from the Omega office without tipping off the mole.”
“Let me see what I can find from here,” Ren said.
Ren McClement worked out of Washington, not the Critical Response Division office in Colorado Springs. Hopefully the mole wouldn’t have knowledge of Ren’s activities.
“Okay. Meanwhile I’ll use this paper copy of the court order and see if it gets me anywhere.” He told Hayley six hours. He wanted to make sure he kept that promise.
“There’s something not right here, Cain. First the fire and now this? It might be Freihof or the mole, but they should have no knowledge of your activities whatsoever.”
Cain parked his car. “So either the mole is much more powerful than we think...”
“Or we’re dealing with someone else entirely.”
“Someone from one of my other cases? Targeting Hayley?” That didn’t make much sense.
“We’ll just see what we find.”
“I made her a promise to get her out,” Cain said. “She’s more than done her time for whatever crimes she committed in the past.”
Hayley’s pale face, brown eyes huge, haunted his every thought.
Inside the courthouse things went from bad to worse.
The judge who had signed the initial court order had gone on a last-minute fishing vacation and couldn’t be reached for confirmation. Nearly growling in frustration, Cain was told it would be late afternoon before he could get time in front of another judge.
He decided he would use his federal law enforcement status to see Hayley while she was held in the booking area. He could at least give her information and reassure her—and himself—that things were going to be all right.
But once he got to that section of the building, he found that Hayley had been taken to the court section, an arraignment already scheduled.
An arraignment before a judge this soon after her arrest? That was almost unheard of. Normally someone might spend an entire day or even two in a holding cell before the judge was able to hear the initial details of the case and formally charge the defendant.
It wasn’t normal, but at least it wasn’t bad. Hayley would’ve been allowed to call, or would’ve been given, a lawyer. She would’ve told the lawyer what had happened, and Cain would be able to back up her statement and provide the document.
Hopefully it would all go away from there. Lumped up as some sort of clerical error.
Cain didn’t know why they hadn’t called him, so immediately found the courtroom where the arraignment hearing was taking place.
Hayley sat at a table in front of the judge’s bench with a lawyer. Good, maybe her attorney had found a copy of the court order allowing Hayley near a computer, and this would soon be over.
Evidently the judge had different ideas. It was like watching her sentencing four years ago all over again. Powerless to stop any of it.
“It has come to my attention that not only have you violated your parole, Ms. Green, but that you have connection to violent criminals that the court was not aware of when you were initially paroled.”
“Your honor...” Hayley’s attorney tried to interject, but the judge held his hand up to silence the woman.
“I’ll admit I’m not certain of all the facts here, so there will be no actual ruling by me today. But I am ordering that Ms. Green be taken back into custody and will return to the Georgia Women’s Correctional facility until another parole hearing can be scheduled with all the facts.”
What in the hell? Cain walked into the courtroom farther, pulling out his badge as he went.
“Your honor, I’m Agent Cain Bennett, with federal law enforcement, and was the person who had requested Ms. Green’s original parole conditions be released. I have the court order in hand and want to assure you that she did not break any conditions of her parole.”
Cain saw Hayley’s head spin around to him, but he kept his eyes on the judge.
“Be that as it may, Agent Bennett, I do not have all the information needed to make any sort of judgment right now. Ms. Green will return to custody, but I’m sure with your word and the court order this could be worked out in just a couple of weeks.”
The judge brought his gavel down on his table. “That’s my decision. Bailiff, take Ms. Green into custody and prepare her to return to the correctional facility.”
Frustration clawed through Cain. He rushed over to the row of seats directly behind Hayley’s table.
“Hayley, we’re going to get this worked out.”
“I have to go back to prison.” Shock clouded her tone, her entire face devoid of color.
Unlike last time when her eyes had seemed so deadened at what the judge said, this time they were filled with terror.
Cain couldn’t help it, he reached up and trailed his fingers down her cheek. Agony clawed at his gut. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. But I promise I’m not going to rest until I get this fixed. This is not like before. A couple of days. I promise you’ll be back with me and Mason in a couple of days.”
The bailiff reached Hayley and turned her around from Cain, placing handcuffs on her wrists in front of her.
Hayley glanced at him over her shoulder. “Take care of Mason.” Her voice choked on the words.
“No, I won’t need to. This will be less than a week and you’ll be back.”
Hayley didn’t respond, just followed the bailiff, head down. Cain watched until she exited out the back.
He wanted to punch something, throw over the table in fr
Cain spent the rest of the afternoon talking to whoever he could to try to find answers. He phoned Ren to provide an update, but the call went straight to voice mail.
Ren would call as soon as he had any information.
Cain caught Hayley’s attorney to ask her for details as she was leaving the courthouse. He walked with her.
“Ms. Rincon, I need to talk to you about Hayley Green.”
She looked over at him dressed in a crisp tailored suit. This was no court-appointed attorney, this was someone who charged hundreds of dollars an hour for her legal services. Money Hayley didn’t have, even if she’d known how to obtain the lawyer’s services in such a short amount of time.
“Agent Bennett, I appreciate you speaking up for my client today in court, but I’m not allowed to talk about the case with anyone without my client’s permission.”
“I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on. She was cleared by a judge to work with me and next thing we know she’s been arrested for parole violation.”
Rincon shrugged. “Look, I’ll level with you. This shouldn’t have been my case. I basically stood in today for a colleague in the public defender’s department. This arraignment took place superfast and he needed help. So I got contacted at ten o’clock this morning and was asked to volunteer some of my time. I owed a favor so I did it.”
Ten o’clock this morning? That would’ve been about the time the state troopers had arrived to arrest Hayley. How would a lawyer be called before Hayley was even at the courthouse?
“Ms. Rincon, there’s something going on that’s not right.”
The woman shrugged. “I’ll give you that it’s all been pretty unusual, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily not right. But honestly, my part ends here. Someone else will be working with Hayley for her parole hearing. She can either hire her own lawyer or use a public defender.”
This was a dead end. “Thanks for your time.”
Rincon nodded and continued down the stairs from the courthouse.
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