|Bud and Lonnie
arrived at HQ in separate vehicles. Its not that they cared who knew
they were shacking up but they were technically on different shifts.
They couldn't rely on the fact that they'd leave at the same time.
An interesting surprise waited for each of them when they checked in at the watch commander's desk. Each received a message to be in the commissioner's office at 1000 hours. It worried Lonnie. She knew there was a department policy about officers 'dating' but it was rarely enforced unless there was some kind of problem. So far things were good. Coffee teased them here and there but that was the extent of it.
Thomas was there waiting for them but Coffee hadn't come in yet. That was odd but it gave them a chance to work out a little dialog. Since Lonnie would be posing as his wife she had to look at him the right way, not feel uncomfortable with holding his hand or kissing him here and there. If it were anyone but Thomas it wouldn't feel so weird.
She brought some cups of coffee to one of the desks in the squad room and the three of them sat to talk.
"I got a message to meet the commish in an hour. Shit, I'm not her five minutes and I'm already in the big man's office. Wonder what it's about?" Thomas rambled as he took one of the cups from Lonnie.
"You won't be alone," she replied. "Bud and I got the same message. My partner's not here yet but I'll lay odds he got one too. Maybe they have a gag order on the case. Who knows?"
"It's not like any of us are talking out of school," Bud added.
Lonnie handed him a cup and broke her rule of not mixing work and home by giving him an affectionate smile. "No sense in us speculating." She pulled a chair up next to Thomas and sat her cup down.
"So, you remember to take the trash out, sweetheart?" Lonnie placed a hand on Thomas' knee.
"You know I'd never let you down, honey," he answered with a smile.
"That's it. I'm not sure I like you fucking with my girl." Was Bud serious? He sure looked like he was.
Thomas glanced at Lonnie before he got up. Standing a full head taller than Bud, he adjusted his suit jacket and tried to look tough but the grin on his face gave it away. "Don't worry, big guy. She would never give me a chance no matter how hard I tried. And it's not for lack of trying either but the girly only has eyes for you."
"Hey, don't call me girly!"
"What the hell are you than?"
Bud managed to wipe the 'sorry I started this' look off of his face. "Nearly late for a meeting, that's what she is. We better get up to the office."
They went up together but still no Detective Coffee. Bud, Lonnie and Thomas waited in the hall way for the secretary to show them into Commissioner Bradley's private office.
"He's ready for you now." She seemed to give Thomas a little special smile and Lonnie nudged him.
"Knock it off."
"I can't help it; it's my natural charisma and charm."
His fifteen seconds of notoriety were over the moment the big man turned around in his chair.
"Good morning, detectives. No need to sit down. I'll be brief." He cleared his throat, folded his hands on his desk and couldn't be bothered to make direct eye contact with any of them.
"Detective Coffee had a major heart attack last night and he will be on leave indefinitely. He'll pull through so don't worry. You'll be heading the case." He raised his eyes to look directly at Lonnie. "...Detective White."
"Me, sir?" Bud queried wondering if Lonnie's house was bugged or something.
"You're names White isn't it?"
"Then I guess I meant you. Brannigan, I want you to handle the paperwork with the DA's office. Get you're shit together before you make a move. I want the assistant DA briefed and ready for you. I want your warrants in order. Cross your T's and dot your I's. I'd hate to lose the arrest because of some lame ass technicality. Are we straight here?"
"What about me, um, sir," Thomas asked.
"Do you have a fucking clue what you're doing?"
"Yes. I've been briefed."
"Do what White tells you. You're a decoy. Don't, and I'll repeat the word just in case your nuts are bigger than your brains, DON'T take any unnecessary risks. White, you've got six uniforms to use as you wish within the boundaries of their contract. That's all. Get out of my office."
Lonnie was the first one out and she was on her cell before the other two joined her.
"Mrs. Coffee. This is...um your husband's partner. I'm Lonnie Brannigan. How's he doing?"
Bud understood why she was making the call but he had her by the arm and he was pulling her down the hallway as she spoke.
"Ah, that's great. What a relief. Tell him I said get well and my prayers are with both of you. Let me know if you need anything at all...okay...okay...bye."
"I heard. Now get yourself down to the DA's office. We gotta move on this. You know what Brodie said. If they miss him we're screwed. Lonnie, you're not going undercover. I'm going to put someone else with Thomas."
She stopped and jerked her arm out of his hand. "What? C'mon, this is my collar. You can't do this to me, Bud. Don't pull rank on me now."
"You heard me. We don't have time for a pissing match. DA's office, now."
"You're insubordinate. I'll take you off the case all together."
"Lonnie," Thomas interrupted and he got a glare from both of them. "Just do what he says."
She tucked the case file under her arm. Without saying another word she walked away from the both of them. The DA's office wasn't far but she'd have to wait to get all of the warrants approved.
Thomas and Bud went back to the office to brief the team. Once Lonnie was out of earshot, Thomas spoke up.
"You might regret that but at least she'll be safe."
"I know. It's for the best. I'll deal with her. What about you? You ready for this?"
"Yeah, just pick out a good looking partner for
me, will ya. A guy with my charm and charisma would have a trophy wife.
Won't find one better than Lonnie though."