He could hear the rising exasperation in his voice and broke off. She wont press charges.
Kate fetched the chair she had kicked across the room and sat down in it. She folded her arms and scowled. And its only a class A misdemeanor.
Thats all it is, he said. And if all of that doesnt work, shell say it was all her fault anyway because she couldnt get her daughter to stop drinking while she was carrying Willard.
Gloom settled in heavily over the room. Mutts tail slowed. Comfort was needed. Jim was the love of her life, in spite of that human male thing he had going on, but Kate had time served. She laid her chin on Kates knee and blinked up at her with a sympathetic expression, or as much sympathy as predatory yellow eyes could exude.
The phone rang, and it was a toss-up as to which of the three was more relieved. Yeah? Jim said into the receiver. His face hardened. Thanks.
He put the phone down. Jurys come back, but its so late, Singh is delaying hearing the verdict until the morning. He hesitated, but shed been helpful to the investigation, with an eidetic memory of Deems past offenses. Plus she was related to the victim somehow. She usually was. Ill fly to Ahtna tomorrow morning. Wanna come?
Are you kidding?
Hey? Willards mournful howl was muffled by the intervening walls but perfectly understandable. Um, I hate to bother you guys, but Anakin and me, were kinda hungry? A pause. Maybe we could have a coupla those cookies I saw next to the coffeepot on the way in? And maybe we could have some coffee with them? Maybe with cream? And a couple three sugars? Anakin really likes his coffee sweet.
Jim closed his eyes and shook his head. Willard Shugak could smell the filling on an Oreo cookie at a hundred yards. He got up, and Kate followed him to the outer office.
Maggie, Im outta here, and I wont be in tomorrow until late. Get Laurel to bring Willard some dinner, would you, please? Hell be staying with us for a few days.
Kate growled, mostly for show, and because she knew Willard was listening.
Protective custody, Jim said.
Maggie gave Kate a wary look. Got it, boss.
As Jim turned the Blazer around to head back to Kates homestead, she said, Whats your prediction? On the verdict?
The road was mostly bare, frozen gravel. I hate global warming, Jim said, and eased up the Blazer to a steady forty miles an hour. I stopped guessing jury verdicts after my first case, Kate.
What happened on your first case?
First case that came to trial, I should have said. A bull moose sauntered out from the undergrowth and paused in the middle of the road, looking around with a distracted air, as if he were trying to remember where he had mislaid his rack. Jim tapped the brakes and flicked the headlights on bright and back again. The moose blinked at them bemusedly and then galumphed back into the undergrowth, embarrassed by his naked head.
Jim stepped cautiously on the gas, goosing her back up to speed. The Blazer rattled over the gravel base, and he had to raise his voice to be heard. Perp and his best buddy pick up the victim on the road, try to get him to perform oral sex on them. When he wont, they shoot him nine times with a twenty-two. And then cut his throat just to be sure. Tossed the body in the city dump and hot-wired the dozer to run it over him a few times to mash him into the garbage.
Copyright © 2007 by Dana Stabenow. All rights reserved.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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