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It was a bright summer morning and Gillian drove in no hurry across town, from Brighton at the west end of the city to the Historic District downtown. She left her car at the station parking lot and walked two streets to the bakery. Like every day, Betty had her slice of pie already waiting for her. Then she headed to Orlando’s, right around the corner, for one of their delicious cappuccinos.
Her morning bordered perfect until Captain Cook entered Orlando’s. She was on her way out, so she had to pause to say hi to him.
“Gillian, are you guys working on something right now?”
She breathed in, as every time she had to talk to him. “No, sir.”
“Then lend a hand to Sergeant Banks and your old fellas from Homicide. They’re working on the kid found at the Theatre District.”
“He just called me about it, sir.”
Lucky her, one of the young waitresses came by and Cook forgot all about her to flash his John Wayne smile at the girl. The waitress nodded back at him, swallowing a giggle. Gillian knew it was her one chance to disappear, and she wasn’t about to miss it. A heartbeat later she was around the corner and halfway across Cambridge Street.
The security guards at the lobby of the federal building greeted her with warm smiles when she walked in.
“Morning, LT, did you bring us some steamy bribe?” one of the men said, nodding at the large paper cups in her hands.
“I should,” she replied. “How are you guys? Everything fine in the fed realm?”
“Fine and easy. How ‘bout you? Must be going ballistic over the murder of that rich boy,” the other guard said.
“I’m about to find out.”
“Oh, so that’s why you’re here, running away from duty.”
“Guilty as charged.”
A warning cough made her turn around, and the guards lost their smiles to face the man in a dark suit waiting to approach the front desk. She stepped aside to leave him room.
The man didn’t even glance at her. He showed his badge to one of the guards, fixing a piercing stare on him from under a cold scowl. Tall, slim, Gillian thought him in his early fifties. Every dark thread of hair in place, spotless charcoal suit on an immaculate white shirt and a sober dark red tie. His thin lips didn’t seem used to smiling at all, and his face had a hardened, broody air.
The guard checked something on his computer and said, “Welcome to Boston, Agent Brockner. SAC Cooper is waiting for you at the fifth floor.”
The man just nodded, slipping his badge back into his inner pocket. Gillian’s eyes stayed on him as he strode away to the elevators. As soon as he stepped into one, the security guards relaxed again.
“Jeez. Hate them big bosses from DC,” one of them grunted.
“Hey, LT, want me to give you his number?”
She ignored the tease. “Did you say Brockner? As in Declan Brockner?”
“Yeah. He’s giving our agents a seminar on serial killers or something like that. You know him?”
“Wow… That man used to be the best profiler in the whole country. He’s a living legend.” She checked her watch and handed one of the cappuccinos to the guards. “Gotta bail, guys. Would you give this to Henderson?”
“I should draw a heart on it.”
“As long as you sign it with your own name. Thanks, guys, see you ‘round.”
She’d hardly walked out of the building when her phone buzzed. Aldana? Banks had beat her to the station.
“Hey, Al, everything okay over there?”
“Hey, Reg. Rolling smooth. You’re at Cambridge Street? Banks is on his way to pick you up.”
“Got it. Laters.”
A honk made her turn around as she disconnected. A car pulled over by the curb right before her and Banks, a man her age with a nice smile and some beer belly, opened the passenger door for her.