Settling in I curled up to get some sleep, there would be plenty of time to think later.
“That was Stephanie.” I offered hanging up the phone and turning to look at Warrick. “She says Greg’s doing alright considering the circumstances.”
“Well at least one of them is. The guy that Greg hit just died a few minutes ago.” Warrick’s voice was solemn as he spoke. “Greg is not going to take this well.”
“We don’t have time to worry about that right now because the rest of them are still out there waiting to be caught. Greg may not be the last person that they do this to if we don’t work on it fast.” I couldn’t help shaking my head while I thought about it. There was very little evidence in order to find these bastards and yet they’d left so much behind as well.
“Catherine’s in the middle of an interrogation with one of the suspects now. How’s Stephanie hanging in there?”
“Rough. That’s about all that I can say. She’s exhausted and then on top of it she gets to try to explain to Isabella why we aren’t going to the park.” I reached up to run a hand through my hair before remembering that I’d had it cut again and instead let it fall to my side again.
“She’ll be fine Nicky, we both know Stephanie’s a tough kid and we know that Isabella’s just as tough, they’ll both make it through.” Warrick was right, that much I knew but I couldn’t help worrying about both of them.
“She needs to get some sleep that was the whole purpose of taking Isabella to the park today, so that she could get some sleep while the house was quiet. I cant help feeling like every time I’m not there, I’m letting that poor little girl down and she’s been let down more then enough times already.”
“She’ll understand Nicky, we both know that.” Warrick just shook his head as he looked at me. “Just relax, you’ll take her home something she absolutely adores and she’ll be as happy as a lark all over again, you know it.”
“I guess you’re right. So what have we got so far?”
“Not much. Like I said Catherine’s talking to a suspect so we’re waiting to hear what she has to say, Sarah’s working on shoe treads, Gris is kind of floating through like a ghost and well we both know where Greg is.” Warrick let out a sigh as he looked at me. “Why don’t you run home, get something to eat, check on the girls, make yourself feel a little bit better. It has to be better then sitting here driving yourself nuts.” Warrick’s voice was sincere as he spoke and I knew he was right.
“Maybe you’re right, take a trip home to see the girls, even though they’ll both still be asleep. Call me if we get anything?”
Grabbing my keys off the desk I pushed myself back out of the chair. “You know though, you aught to check in with your wife too.”
“I should you’re right.” He sighed and rubbed his eyes for a minute. “I guess it’s worth a try anyways.”
“You’ll be fine.” I offered, patting his shoulder as I walked past. “Just go home and talk to her, I’m sure that’ll make her life a little easier for her. Our job isn’t easy, but it’s even harder on the ones that we love, especially after seeing what could happen.”
“Go see your girls. I’ll call if we come up with anything.” Warrick offered a quirky smile as he looked at me.
I didn’t offer a response as I walked out the door. Pulling open the door of the truck I pushed myself inside allowing my head to slump against the seat for a minute, this was going to be a long few days. Putting the key in the ignition I started for home, thank god it wasn’t a long drive because if it was, I probably wouldn’t have considered coming home. Pulling in the driveway I opened the door climbing out, thankfully we’d managed to teach Quinn to not bark whenever someone got there, because me coming home at night would constantly wake Stephanie and Isabella. Putting the key in the front door I turned the lock opening the door and quietly shutting and locking it behind myself. Stephanie claimed that she hadn’t changed much since she’d moved in but it was the subtle touches that always made me smile. Pictures of her and Isabella, Isabella’s drawings hanging on the fridge, the toys scattered throughout the house and most of all, knowing that they both slept not far away made coming home that much more exciting. Quinn came bounding to the door, stopping to look at me as her ears perked, tail wagging and her tongue lolling out of her mouth. Reaching down I pet her head before flipping through the mail sitting on the entry way table, Stephanie paid the bills without asking normally so it was rare to see one of those. Most often it was letters from her mom, mail from my parents trying to convince me I was working too hard, occasionally there was a letter from Stephanie’s ex who now resided in jail. I had to give her credit though; she dealt with it very well. She merely went out back and burned them within a day or so, never opening them to see what he had to say to her. For as much as he had once ruled her life, he was finally just a memory to her.
“Nothing real exciting in the mail today.” Stephanie’s voice spooked me for a minute before I realized that it was her.
“You should be sleeping.” Putting the mail back on the table I moved closer to her.
“Couldn’t sleep, too quiet tonight. Guess I kind of missed you, you know how it is when I’m here alone.”
“Yea, I know. I’m not home for long, just needed to get out for a little while; Warrick was headed home for awhile while we waited on results. So of course he suggested I come see how you guys were doing, find something to eat, you know the fun stuff.” There was something relaxing about her presence in the room. “And you should still be sleeping.”
“I’m fine; I’ll get some sleep when Isabella lays down for her nap this afternoon or something. As for something to eat, what would you like, I’ll whip something up for you.” Stephanie was perhaps one of the sweetest girls that I knew, no matter what she was willing to go the extra distance to make sure that everyone else was taken care of before she even thought about worrying about herself.
“I’ll get it Stephanie don’t worry about it.”
“No, I insist, you’ve had a long night.”
“And you haven’t? You worked all night plus then you came home to clean and do everything else that you normally do. Take a break, I’m not sure if you realize this or not but if you don’t take care of you, you can’t take care of us.” Carefully wrapping an arm around her I placed a kiss on her forehead. “Let us take care of you for awhile.”
“You’ve always taken care of me.”
“Nah, you’re too independent for that. I’m going to go peek in on Isabella and then I’ll meet you in the kitchen.” I offered pressing a kiss to her forehead again before letting go of her. Moving down the hallway towards Isabella’s room, I couldn’t help but smile as I realized that Quinn had moved into her room now lying beside the bed on the floor. The frail little flame within was curled up with the teddy bear she’d gotten from Stephanie shortly after she had moved her back here. Her glow in the dark Bedtime Carebear was situated on the pillow beside her. She was at that age where everything was about Carebears and Dora the Explorer. Even her nightlight was Dora right now. I couldn’t help smiling watching her sleep as I leaned against the door frame, it would be horrible having to leave again but for now everything was perfect.