Tomorrow he'd have to start the tedious chore of calling the rest of the restaurants and supply stores since he wouldn't have the time or the resources to go visit every one of them. He couldn't officially ask for help from any of the other jurisdictions, but if any of the people he spoke with over the phone raised any red flags, he’d call in a few favors.

"His mother wants to talk to you," Jonathan said, drawing his attention back to the bullshit that he had to take care of now.

"Oh yeah?" he asked, not really caring as he looked over the kid's past arrests, DUI, assault, and theft.

"Yeah, she's claiming this was all a big misunderstanding. She's already managed to talk Ralph out of pressing charges for the damage the kid did to the bar as long as the kid pays for all the repairs and never sets foot in there again."

"Is she harassing this young woman as well?" Tristan asked, his mood turning sour at the thought of the young woman that was sexually assaulted being harassed by the perp's mother.

Jonathan let out a snort of disgust. "She tried, but I placed the young woman in McGill's office along with her parents."

"Good," Tristan murmured as he continued to look over the kid's file. He wasn't surprised to see that the kid managed to get out of most of his past charges, no doubt with his mother's help. Justin Erickson had only been ordered to do a total of forty hours of community service and to cover the damages. Whoever this kid's mother was, she was definitely working her ass off to keep her kid out of prison.

She probably thought that she was doing Justin a favor. She wasn't. If anything she was making it worse for everyone and setting herself up for heartache when the kid went too far and even she couldn't help him.

"Has he lawyered up yet?" Tristan asked, taking another quick look at the list of charges.

"No, I don't think the mom can afford it," Jonathan said. "The kid doesn't have a job and she's supporting him on a secretary's salary."

"He ask us to supply him with a lawyer yet?" Tristan asked as he handed Marty the file, already knowing that she was eager to see what they had.

She had a good work ethic and was very thorough. Now that he'd decided that he was going to keep her in his life, he actually realized that having her around the department was a good thing. If she tried to leave, he'd just follow after her. Some people might call it stalking, but he'd rather refer to it as keeping what was his and making sure that no other ass**le went near her. Now he just had to figure out how to make sure that she wanted to stay with him since he did have a tendency of being an ass**le and driving people away.

"No," Jonathan said, shaking his head. "But he also isn't talking. I think he's expecting his mother to get him out of this."

"Probably," Tristan agreed with a tired sigh as he grabbed a legal pad and a pen off his desk.

"I'll go move him to room five, Detective," Jonathan said, sending Marty a nod before he left.

"Guess you'll be sending me out to pick up lunch," Marty said, noticeably fighting back a yawn.

"Looks that way," he agreed, reaching over to push a loose strand of hair behind her ear.

He opened his mouth to ask her about going along with him tonight, but she looked so damn tired. If she didn't get some rest soon she'd be too tired to make love tonight. Since he was pretty sure that he'd die if he didn't make love to her tonight that meant that he was going to have to drop her off at home, his home of course, and suggest that she take a nap. He nearly swore when the idea of Marty, na**d and lying in his bed, had his c**k twitching.

"Do you mind if I grab a cup of coffee before I join you?"

"No, that's fine, baby. Take your time," he said, leaning in and giving her a quick kiss simply because he could.

When he moved to step away, she leaned up and gave him a quick, playful kiss, before handing the file back to him and heading for the door. "I just need two minutes," she said, sending him a sweetly shy smile.

"You got it," he murmured distractedly as he watched her go.

"Excuse me? Detective?" a vaguely familiar woman in her late forties, who looked tired, but was trying not to show it as she forced a smile and stepped into the doorway, said.

"Can I help you?" he asked, as he wracked his brain, trying to figure out where he knew her from.

"Yes," she said, looking oddly relieved. "My son is Justin Erickson and I believe there's been a misunderstanding," she said, sounding hopeful as she tried to hide the fact that her hands were shaking.

Tristan nearly groaned when he realized that this woman was his suspect's mother. He already had too much shit to work on today and didn't need to add this woman's bullshit attempts to get her son out of trouble added to the list.

"If you could have a seat in the waiting area," Tristan said, stepping out of his office and giving the woman no other choice but to back up as he gestured towards the small sitting area by the doors, "I'll be happy to speak with you as soon as I get a chance."

"B-but, if you could just give me five minutes of your time, Detective, I'm sure that I can help clear this up," she said, almost desperately and he couldn't help but feel bad for the woman. That is until she turned slightly to the right and the sunlight steaming in from the windows hit her in just the right way.

It felt like a physical blow as recognition him, hard. For a moment he could only stare at the woman in front of him. There were strands of grey shooting through her blonde hair now and the blue eyes he used to remember as vivid and bright were now dull and tired, but it was her.

"Detective?" she said, drawing his attention to the fact that he was standing there staring at her.

He gave himself a mental shake as he forced himself to focus. "Why don't we speak in my office?" he asked, turning around and opened his office door, thankful to have something to distract him, even for a moment.

With a grateful smile, she did just that. Tristan was just about to close the office door when he spotted Marty with a large coffee mug in her hand, heading towards the back rooms. For a moment he considered letting her go, but then he realized that he needed her, probably more than ever.

"Marty, could you come here for a moment?" he asked, grabbing her attention just as she was about to walk through the door to the back rooms.

"Of course," Marty said with a polite smile when she spotted Mrs. Erickson standing next to him.

He waited until Marty walked into the room, throwing him a questioning look. As he shut the door and took a deep breath, he prayed that he would be able to get through this without screaming at this woman for all the bullshit she'd put him through, the way she’d pulled away from him, made it more than obvious that he wasn't worth her love and protection, or even a comforting shoulder to cry on when the pain was too much and he was terrified. But none of that mattered now, he reminded himself as he forced himself to relax and sit down so that he could do his job.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Cursed Hearts Fantasy
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