The scream ripped Alex brutally out of what had been a peaceful slumber, throwing her back into awareness with painful abruptness. She sat up in bed, heart pounding and wondering whether she’d just imagined it, when a second scream shattered the silence. In borderline panic, Alex flung herself out of bed, and bolted out of her room. She reached Bobby’s door at the same time as her parents and, sparing them an anxious look, darted in through the open door.

Bobby was truly in a state, and it was all Alex could do not to simply burst into tears at the sight of him. As it was, she couldn’t stop the tears from stinging her eyes. He’d come off the bed, and was huddled in a corner of the room, clutching at the blanket that he was tangled up in as some meagre form of protection. He was sobbing helplessly, rocking back at forth, and seemingly oblivious to his surroundings.

Alex started towards him, and John caught her arm in concern.

“Honey, be careful. If he lashes out…”

“I can handle it,” she murmured. John nodded.

“You may be able to, Lexie, but Bobby might not. Just be careful, okay?”

Nodding, she ventured forward, towards her stricken partner.

“Bobby? Are you with me?”

To her great relief, he responded almost immediately to her voice, looking up at her with eyes that were red and swollen from shedding tears.


She went to him, and suddenly found herself being clung to with a desperation that was heartbreaking. She managed to get her arms around him, and held him to her.

“What happened?” she asked softly, ignoring the hovering presence of her parents. “Talk to me, Bobby. Tell me what happened.”

“N… Nightmare,” he choked out. “I had a nightmare…”

“Bad one?” she wondered.

“No,” he admitted in between shaky sobs. Alex was puzzled.

“Then what’s wrong?”

“I thought they’d stop,” he whimpered. “They… They were supposed to stop! Why won’t they stop…?”

And then she understood.

“Oh, Bobby,” she whispered, hugging him all the more closely. “We got rid of Lyle and Raines, but that was never going to stop your nightmares totally. There’s no miracle cure for that. Time is the only thing that will help there.”

“I just want them to stop,” Bobby sobbed into her shoulder.

“I know you do,” she whispered. “But you have to be patient. I know that seems like a hard thing to say, but there will eventually come a night where you won’t have nightmares about that place… About those people.”

“What am I supposed to do until then?” he asked bitterly. Alex pressed her lips to his cheek.

“Rely on me. Let me take care of you. Will you do that? Will you let me help you?”


His answer was so soft that she almost missed it. Once she understood, though, she sighed and kissed him again, this time on the top of his head.

“It’ll be all right, Bobby. Just trust me, okay?”

He shifted slightly against her, his sobs easing noticeably.

“I do,” he whispered, and she knew he meant it.

Long after Bobby fell asleep again, Alex stayed in the room with him, keeping silent watch. It was only after he’d finally drifted off to the sleep, though, that Alex allowed herself to shed real tears.

She understood his heartache, and his hope that Raines and Lyle’s deaths would have signalled an end to the night terrors that tormented his subconscious. If she was completely honest, she’d admit that she had harboured the same hope. It was emotionally devastating to discover that was not the case.

Stepping away from the bedside, Alex looked out of the window and down onto the darkened street below. In reality, there seemed to be no way of knowing when… or if… his nightmares would ever end. Jarod had tried to warn her that that would more than likely be the case, and she hadn’t wanted to listen. Now, it seemed his words were true after all.

She started to turn away from the window, only to freeze. Down on the street, and only partially visible in the shadows, was a distinctly female figure. Alex’s breath caught in her throat. There was no way that someone would have been out on the street at that time of night, and she suddenly found herself wondering if this was the same woman whose mysterious presence had taunted Bobby that night in the hospital.

Her blood suddenly ran cold as it occurred to her that this could well be Brigitte, the woman who had cause Bobby so much misery. Filled with a sudden determination, Alex glanced once at her sleeping partner, and hurried from the room.

Mike was on his fifth cup of coffee, and Carolyn was on her third, when the back door of their SUV opened, and Alex slid in.

“What are you doing up?” Mike demanded to know.

“You sound like my father,” Alex retorted dryly, but Mike only grunted unapologetically in reply.

“Seriously, Alex,” Carolyn asked. “Why aren’t you inside where it’s warm? It’s absolutely freezing out here!”

“I spotted someone watching the house,” she told them bluntly. “Specifically, watching Bobby’s room. Someone female.”

Startled silence met her words, and Mike leaned forward with a frown, as though doing so would afford him a better view.

“Female?” Carolyn echoed worriedly. “As in blonde, with a British accent?”

“Could be,” Alex agreed. “Which would leave us with two possibilities, each as unpleasant as the other.”

“Who do you think it is?” Mike asked, even as he released the clip on his gun belt.

“I’m tipping it’s that Brigitte woman,” Alex answered. “If it’s not, then the only other person I can think of who’d have a reason to be hanging around our house, watching Bobby’s room, is Nicole Wallace. And I’m hoping even less that it’s her.”

“Last thing he needs is that psycho showing up now,” Mike agreed. “Okay. Let’s go get our midnight caller.”

Carolyn spotted her first, standing beneath a Sycamore tree and very obviously watching Bobby’s room. She seemed oblivious to the presence of anyone else, leaning casually against the tree and twirling a lollypop in her mouth. Moving slowly, and remaining conscious of the fact that they didn’t know whether she was armed, Mike approached her from behind, while Alex and Carolyn approached her from the sides.

“Don’t move,” Mike said quietly as he pressed the gun to the back of the woman’s head. She froze, panic virtually radiating off her. He glanced around as Alex and Carolyn emerged out of the darkness, and Carolyn took the liberty of handcuffing her.

“Wh… What did I do?” the woman asked shakily, in a distinctly American accent. The three detectives exchanged glances. It certainly wasn’t Nicole, which left one possibility.

“Your name wouldn’t happen to be Brigitte, would it?” Mike asked coolly as he came around to stand in front of the woman. She regarded him with wide eyes.

“No, it’s Jenny. Who are you?”

“Your worst nightmare, if you’re lying,” Mike growled. “What are you doing out here?”

The woman seemed to shrink slightly under his glare.

“I… I was paid to be here.”

“By the Centre?” Alex demanded to know.

“The… The what…? No… A man… I don’t know who he is. He just offered me money to be here… like this.”

“Does this man have a name?” Mike asked.

“He told me to call him Mr Lyle. Look, I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” she protested. “He just said he wanted to play a prank on a buddy. And… I couldn’t afford to turn down a thousand dollars, you know?”

Again, the three detectives exchanged rueful looks. The woman’s story was plausible, but none of them could be sure, and none of them knew what Brigitte looked like. For all they knew, this was her, and she was simply spinning them a story to convince them to let her off.

“Look, can I please go?” she asked, her eyes flickering nervously from one detective to the next. “I’m sorry if I caused any problems…”

“Lady, you have no idea just how many problems you caused,” Mike snapped as he searched her pockets. “And no, you can’t go. Not until we know for sure who you are.”

“I already told you…”

“Yeah, your name’s Jenny,” Alex retorted. “Excuse us if we don’t take your word for it.”

“Check it out,” Mike said, and he opened his hand to reveal half a dozen cherry lollypops.

“Mr Lyle gave those to me,” the woman said anxiously. “He said it was part of the joke. He said I had to suck on one of them all the time I was out here. Hey… Where are you taking me?”

“Back to our squad room,” Carolyn answered as they ushered her back towards the SUV. “There’s one person who can tell us for certain if you really are Brigitte, and there’s no way we’re waking him up now to do it. So you can just cool it in a holding cell for the rest of the night.”

“Oh, please, no,” the woman sobbed. “I said I was sorry! What more do you want?”

“Lady,” Mike said in a positively frigid tone, “you really don’t want an answer to that.”

“Tell us,” Carolyn asked once they were on their way back to One Police Plaza, “did this Mr Lyle get you to pull this same stunt outside Mt Sinai a week or so ago?”

The woman shifted uncomfortably in the back seat.

“Yes, but I didn’t know why! He just told me to stand in a particular spot for a couple of hours, and suck on those damn lollypops.” She grimaced. “I don’t even like lollypops.”

“If you’re telling us the truth, then you don’t have anything to worry about,” Carolyn assured her.

“I’m not Brigitte, whoever you think she is,” she insisted. Mike glanced coolly at her in the rear view mirror.

“For your sake, I hope not.”


Alex looked up wearily as she made her way back inside, to find her father waiting there with a worried frown.

“Hey, Dad.”

“What’s happened? Is everything okay?”

She nodded.

“As much as it can be. We just caught someone outside, watching the house.”

John started in shock.

“What? But I thought that would be all done with!”

“Apparently not,” she muttered. “Luckily, Bobby was asleep by then, and he didn’t see her.”

John froze. “Her...?”

“Yes. Her. Dad, we think it’s Brigitte.”

“Sweet Jesus.”

“We think,” she insisted. “We don’t know for sure. She says her name is Jenny, and that Lyle paid her to hang around here, but the problem is that none of us actually know what Brigitte looks like. Bobby is really the only one who could make a positive ID.”

“So… Are you going to wake him up?”

“God, no. No, Mike and Carolyn are taking her back to One Police Plaza and they’ll keep her there until later this morning, when Bobby can come in and say whether it’s her or not.”

“It’s not going to be easy for him to do that,” John reminded her gently. Alex sighed.

“I know, Dad. But at the same time, if it is her, then we can deal with her…”

“Like you dealt with those other two?”

Alex stopped in her tracks, staring at him grimly. John looked back at her, regretful but not apologising.

“We did the right thing, Dad,” she said finally, softly. “If Bobby can sleep better at night for knowing those two bastards are dead…”

“Didn’t help him much tonight,” John said, and Alex flinched visibly.

“That’s not fair.”

A faint sigh escaped John’s lips.

“I’m sorry, Lexie. I know you did the only thing you could do. Just give me some time to deal with it, okay?”

She nodded, and continued past him, towards the stairs.

“Okay, Dad. And for the record, I do understand. I’m not exactly a hundred percent okay with it, either, but I can live with it knowing we did what we did to keep Bobby safe. And you’re right. It was the only thing we could do.”

John watched her disappear back upstairs before shaking his head sadly and heading back to bed himself.

When Deakins arrived at the bullpen that morning, he was more than a little surprised to find Carolyn and Mike at their respective desks. He approached them slowly, visibly confused by their presence.

“Didn’t you two just come off an all-nighter? What are you doing here?”

“We’re waiting for Alex to bring Bobby in,” Mike answered him. “And, before you flip, hear us out. We caught her last night, Captain.”

Deakins’ breath caught in his throat. Deep down, he knew what Mike was talking about, but a part of him still wanted to deny it.

“Who, Mike?”

“We’re not sure yet, Captain,” Carolyn interrupted, fixing a warning look in her partner’s direction. “All we know is that it’s the woman that Bobby saw from the hospital room the night after we came home. Remember, when we all thought he was just seeing things? Well, he wasn’t, and Alex saw her again last night. We caught her, and she’s in the holding cell right now.”

“She says her name is Jenny, and that Lyle paid her to hang around and generally psyche Bobby out,” Mike went on, “but we’re not taking any chances.”

“And Alex is bringing Bobby in because…?” Deakins wondered.

“To identify her,” Mike answered matter-of-factly. “It could be Brigitte, Captain. If it is, we can’t just let her walk out of here.”

“We’re waiting for Alex to call and let us know they’re on their way,” Carolyn added. “Then we’ll move her into one of the interrogation rooms, so that Bobby can ID her when they get here.”

Deakins shut his eyes briefly. Mike was right when he said that they could not simply allow the woman to walk free if she did turn out to be Brigitte, but this was not… could not be a repeat of the café situation from the previous day. They could not simply execute her, even if she did happen to be the same woman who had caused Bobby so much grief and trauma… and despite knowing that Brigitte’s capture would possible give Bobby even more peace of mind…

“Is it really absolutely necessary to bring Bobby in?”

Mike raised an eyebrow.

“Well, that depends, Captain. Do you know what Brigitte looks like? Because we don’t, and the doc is busy with SVU cases at the moment.”

It took some effort on Deakins’ part not to groan aloud. Mike had a point, however blunt it was.

“No,” he admitted reluctantly. “I don’t know what she looks like. I never actually saw any of the sim discs that had her on them. All right… When did Alex say she was going to bring Bobby in?”

“As soon as he’s ready,” Carolyn said. “She didn’t want to rush him. He, uh… He had a pretty bad night, Captain. You know… nightmares.”

The captain sighed.

“I had a feeling that might happen. It’s going to be a long time before the nightmares ease off. He may never be able to completely rid himself of some of them.”

Carolyn nodded her agreement.

“Even with Raines and Lyle dead, the memories are going to be with him for a long time. There’s no miracle cure here. There are a lot of things that happened to him that he might not ever really get over.”

“Yeah, well, whether he gets over it or not isn’t so much the point,” Mike retorted. “It’s whether he can learn to live with it that matters. And if you ask me, I think he’s gonna be okay, especially once he gets back to work. Seriously, you both saw the look on his face when he got his shield back.”

“Yes,” Deakin murmured, reflecting on that memory with a smile. That had indeed been one of the more satisfying moments since getting Bobby out of the Centre. “I saw. I thought that we could have Bobby here doing some light paperwork and other things, if he’s feeling up to it. Now that Lyle and Raines aren’t a threat anymore…”

“And once we find out who that woman is,” Mike added. Deakins nodded in agreement and, with a grim look in the direction of the holding cells, headed to his office to await Bobby’s arrival.

Bobby was silent all the way to One Police Plaza, not responding even after repeated attempts on Alex’s part to draw his attention. He sat cloaked in silence, staring out the passenger window of Alex’s car. She eventually gave up on trying to get through to him. Wherever he was right then, it was beyond her reach. All she could do was be patient, and wait for him to come back to her on his own.

It wasn’t until they were pulling in to One Police Plaza’s underground garage that Bobby finally seemed to rouse himself from wherever his mind had fled to for the duration of the drive.

“You okay?” Alex asked softly. His eyes flitted to hers just briefly before shifting away again.

“I don’t know,” he answered with abrupt honesty.


“What if it’s her?” he asked suddenly, and Alex could hear the borderline panic in his voice. “I… I don’t know if I can face her, Alex. I’d almost rather face Nicole Wallace.”

“You don’t have to be face to face with her, Bobby,” she assured him. “I talked to Mike before we left home. They’ve got her waiting in one of the interrogation rooms. All you have to do is look at her through the glass, and say whether it’s her or not. Then we can go. She’ll never even know you’re there. It’ll be all right.”

“It’s not that easy,” Bobby whispered miserably, and Alex squeezed his hand reassuringly.

“I know. But how about we take it one step at a time? And we can start by just getting out of the car. How about it?”

For a long minute, she thought he was going to ignore her. But then, suddenly, he pushed the door open and got out of the car, and allowed Alex to usher him to the elevator.

“Did… Did Mike say if there are a lot of people around?”

Alex looked up at him quizzically.

“A lot of people? You mean, in the squad room? I don’t know, Bobby. Just the normal number, I guess.”

He hesitated, looking more than a little uncomfortable.

“Ten?” he queried finally. “More…?”

Alex looked up at him with sad realisation.

“You don’t really remember what it was like working in the bullpen, do you?”

The red flush that crept across his cheeks answered her question, and she hugged him gently.

“Don’t be embarrassed, Bobby. No one is going to hold it against you.”

“It’s not that,” he said as they stepped into the elevator. “At least, it’s not only that. I just… I can’t help thinking… as much as I want to go back to work again…”

Her hand grasping his tightly effectively silenced him.

“Don’t, Bobby,” she told him softly. “Don’t go jumping to conclusions and making rash decisions.”

“I’m not,” he promised her. “It’s just… It’s hard to explain. Yesterday I was feeling good. Today… I don’t feel so great.”

“And it doesn’t help knowing who it is that we might be holding up there,” Alex murmured. His shoulders slumped a little.

“Not really,” he admitted softly. Alex rubbed her hand up and down his back in what she hoped was a reassuring gesture.

“It’s okay to feel like that, Bobby. We don’t expect you to just come bouncing back. It was always going to be a gradual thing.”

She trailed off as the elevator slid to a halt at the eleventh floor, and the doors slid open. Looking up at him and slipping her hand into his for reassurance – both hers and his – Alex motioned out into the corridor.

“C’mon. Let’s do this.”

Drawing in a slow, shaky breath, Bobby nodded and allowed her to lead him around and into the Major Case bullpen.

Nothing could ease Bobby’s embarrassment when, as they walked into the bullpen, a startled silence descended on the room, and all eyes turned to stare. Squeezing Bobby’s hand firmly, Alex led him through the maze of desks to where Mike and Carolyn were waiting.

“Hey, pal,” Mike greeted him amiably. “You ready to do this?”

“Would it make any difference if I said no?” Bobby asked weakly, starting to sound as sick as he looked. Carolyn reached over to gently rub his back.

“She’s already in the interrogation room, Bobby. You only need to look at her through the observation window. She’ll never even know you’re there.”

Bobby grimaced.

“Now I know how witnesses feel when they have to ID a suspect.” He paused, looking pale and haunted. “I don’t know what I want more. For it to be her… or for it not to be her.”

“One step at a time,” Alex murmured, hugging him reassuringly.

“C’mon,” Mike said, nodding towards the interrogation rooms. “Let’s go see if she’s who she says she’s not.”

Bobby and Alex’s eyebrows both shot up at the convoluted remark, and Carolyn could only shrug in the face of their confusion.

“What can I say? Too much coffee, and not enough sleep.”

“Not a good combination for him at any time,” Alex remarked wryly.

“Tell me about it,” Carolyn agreed.

“Hey, I’m right here, remember?” Mike reminded them, though he could barely conceal a grin.

“Where’s the captain?” Bobby wondered, the brief banter seemingly going over his head.

“He got called upstairs,” Carolyn told him. “He should be back soon. C’mon, Bobby. Come and have a quick look, and then we’ll go out and get a coffee together, us and the captain. What do you say?”

“Yeah,” Bobby mumbled, less than enthusiastically. “That… That sounds good.”

Before they could move, though, a shadow fell across the desk, and the four of them looked around to see David Ash standing there, looking painfully nervous.

“What is it, Ash?” Mike asked calmly, deliberately using the detective’s name so that Bobby wouldn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of having to ask. Ash’s gaze flickered to Bobby who was, in turn, watching him with a slight frown.

“Just wanted to say… to Bobby, I mean… It’s great to have to you back, man.”

“Thanks,” Bobby murmured, and though he couldn’t quite hold the other man’s gaze, none of them missed the gratitude in his voice at Ash’s genuine words.

“Anything you need, just say,” Ash told him with a little more confidence. Bobby nodded and then suddenly lifted his gaze to meet Ash’s eyes squarely.

“Thankyou,” he said in a quiet, sincere voice. Slowly, his gaze swept around the squad room, briefly catching the eye of each man there. “Thankyou… for yesterday. Thankyou for everything.”

“Anytime, anywhere, Goren,” someone said firmly in answer. Bobby swallowed hard, bolstered noticeably by the strong show of support from his fellow detectives. He looked back to Alex, Mike and Carolyn with fresh determination.

“Let’s do this.”

It was painfully obvious that their mystery woman had been crying fairly steadily. She sat at the table in the interrogation room, shoulders hunched and head down. Mike, Carolyn and Alex stood back as Bobby slowly approached the glass to peer at the woman on the other side.

He stared at the woman in the interrogation room, taking in the sight of her with a quickened breath and a rush of memories before finally turning back to them. The relief on his face was palpable.

“It’s not her. It’s not Brigitte.”

Mike came forward, then, coming to stand beside Bobby as he looked into the other room.

“She was telling the truth, then. She’s just someone that Lyle paid off.”

“Uh… Not exactly,” Bobby corrected. “I… I know her.”

“You know her?” Alex echoed in shock. “From where?”

“From the… the Centre. She was one of the assistants in the hospital wing. She… She was always kind to me. I don’t understand why she’s here. Why would she be working for Lyle? He treated her like dirt. She hated him almost as much as I did.”

Mike looked across at his friend.

“Would you like to ask her?”

Bobby hesitated for just a brief moment before answering with a nod.

“Yes,” he said, surprising himself as well as his companions. “I think I would.”

The woman sat in miserable silence, reaching occasionally for a fresh tissue. She’d lost track of how long she’d been there for, and she was starting to wonder fearfully just what the police had in mind for her. Not that she could blame them, she supposed unhappily.

She’d known that Lyle was not to be trusted, but at the same time she’d had no choice but to obey his order. And his order had been to hang around in strategic positions until she was caught out. What she hadn’t anticipated was being locked up in a police cell, with no access to a lawyer, a phone, or anything else.

They knew, she thought with a chill. Despite her denials, and her faithful recitation of the story Lyle had given her, they still knew.

Damn him, she thought miserably. Damn him to hell.

And while she was at it, damn the Centre, too. Why couldn’t they just leave Bobby alone?

Her thoughts turned to him, and a fresh wave of nausea hit at the unwelcome realisation that Lyle had effectively forced her to impersonate that witch, Brigitte. She felt like a royal fool – it hadn’t even occurred to her until that male cop had said the woman’s name. Then, she’d finally understood what Lyle had been using her for, and the devastation she’d felt was beyond horrendous.

Her tears now were not for herself, but for the one who had already suffered more than any human deserved – with perhaps two or three notable exceptions. Her tears were shed out of grief for the knowledge that her actions would have undoubtedly caused him even more pain and fear.

The door suddenly swung open, and she looked up, expecting to be confronted by one of the three cops had brought her in. Her breath froze in her throat at the sight of the man who stood in the doorway.

“Bobby…” she whispered, all pretence out the proverbial window.

He said nothing, but walked over and sat down opposite her, as he would have done in any interrogation. His breath caught a little as he sat, and a wave of emotion nearly overcame him as realisation hit, and hit hard.

This was no pretend. This was real. It was who he was, and where he belonged, and nothing the Centre had done, or might try to do, could ever strip him of that.

Slowly, he lifted his eyes to meet the gaze of the woman across from him, taking a moment to observe her before speaking.

“My friends… My colleagues… thought you were Brigitte.”

He marvelled quietly that he was able to say the name without his voice breaking. She shifted uncomfortably where she sat.

“I know.”

“I told them that you weren’t… but then it occurred to me, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what your name is. Nine months, and they never let you tell me your name.”

“Jenny,” she answered softly. “My name is Jenny Stephens. Bobby, I am so sorry…”

She was silenced abruptly when he lifted his hand.

“Just… Explain to me why,” he said finally. Her shoulders slumped again.

“It was Mr Lyle. He told me I had to, or…”


She looked up at him, tears filling her eyes.

“Or he’d kill my husband. I didn’t have a choice, but I didn’t realise what it was that he was having me do until that other cop called me Brigitte. God, I felt so sick when I realised. To think that he’d have me pretend to be a dead woman, just to get at you…”

Bobby did a double-take, her words catching him off-guard.

“D… Dead? She… She’s dead?”

Jenny stared at him for several seconds, eyes wide.

“Oh my god… Of course, you wouldn’t know. She was killed when the Centre in Blue Cove was destroyed. She didn’t get out in time, and the place went up with her inside. All they found was her…”

“Her what?” Bobby asked, frowning. Jenny gulped.

“Her head. Mr Parker was devastated. Though… I guess you wouldn’t care so much about that.”

Bobby barely heard her. His mind was reeling. If Brigitte had been killed in the Centre explosion, then that meant that Lyle had been bluffing when they’d been in the car together. His stomach rolled unpleasantly. If Lyle hadn’t taunted him like that, he wouldn’t have snapped, and he might not have escaped.

He shoved the thought brutally from his mind. Just thinking that would be enough to make his nightmares worse than they already were.

“She really is dead?” he asked softly, and Jenny nodded.

“I saw her… her remains myself, Bobby. I swear to you, she really is dead.”

He let his breath out in a rush.

“Then you can go home to your husband. You’re… you’re both safe.”

She was clearly puzzled.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that Lyle is dead, too. And so is Raines.”

Her eyes widened in shock.

“Are you serious?”

“They… They tried to ambush me yesterday… but they weren’t counting on the number of cops I had trying to protect me. They were both shot dead when they tried to kill me.”

The tears came in a flood, and Jenny slumped over with her face in her hands as she cried.

“Oh… Thank God…”

After a moment’s hesitation, Bobby got up and moved around to sit beside her. He laid a hand lightly on her shoulder, and a moment later she collapsed against him, sobbing out her relief.

“I’m sorry,” she said in a voice that was muffled by his sweater. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to hurt you, but he just didn’t give me any choice.”

Bobby sighed softly.

“I know,” he murmured. “You have a choice now, though. What are you going to choose?”

“I’m never going back to that place… to those people,” she vowed, pulling back a little so that he could see the serious intent in her face. “I’m done with them.”

He nodded approvingly.

“Good. That’s good.” He paused, looking at her thoughtfully before speaking again.


She was puzzled again.

“For what?”

“For trying to take care of me. You were one of the few people that I knew wouldn’t hurt me. I… I can’t explain how much that meant.”

Jenny reached up to gently cup his cheek briefly.

“I am so glad you’re free of that horrible place. I pray they’ll never take you again.”

“They won’t,” Bobby assured her, and was quietly thrilled to discover that this time, he truly believed what he was saying.

“So… That woman was one of the people who actually helped you?” Mike asked incredulously after Jenny had finally gone. Bobby nodded as they emerged from the observation room together.

“Yes. She was one of the nurses. If it wasn’t for her, by the time you found me, my right arm might have been completely useless. It was only because of her care that it wasn’t.”

“And she was only pretending to be Brigitte because Lyle threatened her,” Carolyn mused. Alex frowned.

“Why didn’t she tell us that to begin with? Why lie about it?”

“Would you have believed her if she had told you the truth?” Bobby asked, and Alex sighed softly.

“I suppose not.”

Bobby hugged her to him.


“But you believe her,” Mike said, and Bobby nodded.

“Yes. I do. She’s got no reason to lie to me. And… I trust her. She’s one of three people in that building that I knew I could trust.”

“Who are the other two?” Carolyn wondered. Bobby regarded his friends thoughtfully as they headed around to the elevators.

“Do you really want to know?”

“I bet I know,” Alex said softly. “Angelo, and Miss Parker. Right?”

He looked slightly disconcerted, but nodded.


“Why Miss Parker?” Mike asked with a frown. Bobby smiled faintly.

“Maybe I’ll explain it to you one day… but not right now.”

“Now, we get coffee,” Alex said, and Carolyn rubbed her hands together enthusiastically.


The elevator pinged, and the doors slid open. Bobby started to take a step forward, and froze, what little colour there was in his face quickly disappearing. Standing immediately opposite him, in the elevator with an irritated-looking Jimmy Deakins, was Chief of Detectives Kyle Harris.

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