The Carseat in the River: Part Four

The Carseat in the River: Part Four

               “Please sit,” The chief said formally, which immediately put me on edge.

               Starting out that way was never a good sign.

               “Was there something you wanted to discuss, sir?” I asked, after I had sat down in the hard-wooden chair, opposite his desk. As if I didn’t know what this was about already. But he didn’t know that, nor did he need to.

               “I’m sure you’ve seen the news over the weekend. About what was recovered from the river.”

               I nodded, my throat so tight I didn’t trust myself to speak.

               His eyes, so dark that they reminded me of coffee, bored into my face, as if searching for something I was not willing to yield.

               “I’m sorry to tell you this, Officer LeVaux, but I don’t want you anywhere near this case.”

               Even though I knew it was coming, I still flinched.

               I knew that it wasn’t anything personal, that my boss was trying to protect me. But God damn if it didn’t hurt like a bitch.

               “Why?” I asked anyway, and I was proud of the fact that my voice did not quake. “You know that I’m a good cop. That I can handle this.”

               “I can agree with you on the first point.” He replied, not unkindly, smiling sadly. “But I don’t know about the second. You get too emotional.”

               I was getting really tired of hearing that. Just because I was a woman didn’t mean that I couldn’t control myself. Ever since the Academy, I’d been hearing a variation of that same speech, and it pissed me off. But I couldn’t afford to lose my temper, not when I was already on thin ice.

               “With all due respect, Chief, I disagree. I think that my empathy is what makes me a great cop.” I said calmly, taking deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

               “You absolutely are a great cop,” He said, and though it was a compliment, it came off as patronizing, an empty platitude. “But I don’t think you should be risking your mental health. We’ve got plenty of manpower.”

               “Are you putting me on desk duty?” I asked, struggling to remember my breathing exercises.

               This wasn’t fair, and I didn’t care about where it was coming from. This was my job on the line, and before I’d even been given a chance, I’d been sidelined.

               “Not necessarily,” The chief said finally, sitting back in his chair and giving me a once over. “I just want to make sure that you’re not in over your head.”

               Why, all of a sudden, was everyone treating me like I was a rookie? Like I was delicate and made of glass? I hated being treated differently just because I was a girl.

               But it seemed that the cards were not in my favor where this case was concerned.

“I’m not fresh out of the Academy anymore,” I protested quietly, doing my best not to sound like a petulant child.

The chief reached into the fridge he kept behind his desk and pulled out a bottle of water, setting it in front of me.

“I promise you I know that,” He replied. “I just want to make sure that you’ll be all right. If I put you on this case, with Luna, can you promise me that you’re going to keep calm? That you’re not going to read into this?”

I opened the bottle of water, mostly to buy myself some time before I answered. I took a big gulp, wincing when the cold liquid hit my throat.

“Yes, of course, Chief. I promise. Professional as possible. Got it.”

“If I catch even a whiff of impropriety from you, you’re off the case and chained to your desk for the remainder of the investigation. Have I made myself clear?”

“Crystal. Thank you, Chief. I’ll make you proud.”

I’d been granted clearance for a lie. And under any other circumstance, I would’ve felt guilty.

But I was already in too deep. It was too late to turn back now.

**