This is a short excerpt from chapter two of The Protector. Detective Sydney Valentine and Bernie (her partner) are discussing an incident from Sydney’s past, before law enforcement. Her best friend committed suicide after her rapist was acquitted. Sydney begins this conversation.
“Two weeks after the trial I found her in her room lying on her bed. She never made her bed, but she did this time. She was all dressed up in her favorite pink dress. Seeing her lying there reminded me of when she’d played Sleeping Beauty in third grade. Then I noticed the vomit on her dress. Found a nearly empty bottle of her anti-depressants and an open bottle of Tequila on the carpet next to the bed. She didn’t even drink booze. Wasn’t old enough to buy it either.”
“Was she already…gone?”
“Not yet. I called 911. She died in the ER. Never woke up.”
“Did she leave a note?”
“On my pillow. She said, ‘Syd, I’m so sorry. I can’t. Best friends forever. Love Allison.’ The ‘for’ in forever was the number four. We always did that when we were kids. We both wanted to go to law school. Work for the DA’s office. If I hadn’t pushed her into reporting it, she’d still be alive.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I do. I know it. That’s why I nailed that sonofabitch to the wall.”
“He went to jail after all?”
“No.” My laugh tasted bitter. “Literally, Bernie. I went to his condo, kicked his scrawny ass all over it. Broke his nose, too. When he woke up…”
“Whoa! Woke up?”
“Yeah…woke up. I made him stand against the wall. Then, I literally nailed him to the wall through his clothes with my dad’s nail gun.” I let my breath out in a rush. “I’m sorry it was through his clothes.”
“Seriously?” Bernie laughed. “I’m not going to ask how you happened to have a nail gun handy. Weren’t you afraid he’d call the cops?”
“Nope. I knew his kind. Rich boy. Couldn’t fight worth shit. Wouldn’t want anyone to know he got his ass kicked by a girl.”
“I sure as hell wouldn’t let anyone know if it was me.” He shook his head. “Shit.”
“Ironic, isn’t it?” I was sure my eyes were bloodshot and my face a blotchy mess.
“Ironic?” He tilted his head. “How?”
“I wanted to kill him, Bernie. I did. Now look at me. A murder cop.” And a damn good one. I opened the passenger-side door, slid in and buckled up. I removed my tomato stress ball from my purse and went to town. I needed it.