• 1:10 p.m.
    Alexis drove to St. Mark’s with the sirens blaring. Shaun kept glancing back at me.
    “Are you all right?” He asks me out in concern, I nod.
    “Yeah. I’ll be fine. It’s Noble I’m worried about.” I tell them.
    “Katy, we all are and don’t you worry, he’ll be fine. He’s one hell of a cop.” She paused, starting again.
    “He probably saved your life.” She was pulling up to the waiting room.
    “You two go in. I’ll find a parking spot.” Shaun tells us taking the wheel his hands tightened and loosened out of stress.
    Once inside the hospital’s waiting room, the receptionist explains to us he’s still in surgery. I rub at my stomach as the stress knots tightened, I had an idea and I pull out my phone.
    “What are you doing?” Alexis asks grasping my arm.
    “Calling his kids, they need to know. They have a right to know.” She released her grip.
    A woman answered on the second ring,
    “Hi, Eleanor. It’s Sergeant Katrina McHolt. Are the boys’ home?” I ask, praying one of them was home.
    “Nicolas just walked in.” She says handing him the phone.
    “Miss Katrina, what happened?” I pause, holding my breath.
    “Your father…he was shot. He’s now in surgery at Saint Mark’s. Can you come?” His breath becomes quick and shallow. Same with mine. Alexis put an arm around me. She soon left and walked towards an abandoned chair.
    “Yeah.” He quivered, “Yeah. I’ll be there soon.” He hung up.
    Shaun places his hand on my shoulder.
    “I know how you feel. I lived through the same heartache and anxiety when it was Alexis. Everything’s going to be all right. Kate, I promise.” I held out a hand.
    “Don’t make any promises to me. All I want to know is that he’s okay.” I collapse into a chair. My hands covering my face. The emotions were hard to control.
    A couple of nerve racking hours later, the nurse tells us Allen is out of surgery and resting and with this great news; I fell asleep in a white plastic chair.
    11:30 p.m.
    Dec 18
    I slept for a few hours on a plastic chair. I felt my phone vibrate,
    “Katrina McHolt.”
    “Captain Ortehga. Tell Noble he’s off the case. Hammermill’s head.” My jaw drops to the ground in surprise.
    “You can’t do that. Noble’s a great cop. You can’t do that sir.” I gasp out in astonishment.
    “It’s a done deal, McHolt there’s nothing I can do.” He states, hanging up. Nicolas and Caleb arrived before I fell asleep. Caleb was now wide-awake and Nicolas had fallen fast asleep on Caleb’s shoulder. My watch told me it was 11:30 at night. I slipped quietly towards Allen’s room. He was fast asleep on the bed; his chest was bare and had been wrapped with white bandages. His arm in a sling. The bedside lamp had been on. Turning it off, I glanced around. Everything seemed normal. If that was so, why was I so jumpy?
    “No! No! McHolt!” I jumped at the sound of him screaming in his sleep. I walked to the bed placing my cold hand in his. He woke up.
    “McHolt?” He asks, looking confused until memory splashed over him like a wave. He touched my face just wiping at the tears that I cried for him, rubbing my arms for comfort and safety he asks me loads of questions about the case. He was upset when I told him that Shaun was the head. Finally he asks,
    “McHolt, how long have you been here? How long has it been since I was shot?” Staring at the bandages, my fingers moved around them careful to his injuries.
    “Almost 60 hours. You were shot 72 hours ago.” I felt the sting of tears coming again. Could he see them?
    “McHolt, you’re crying. What’s wrong?” He whispers, pulling me into his arms. I felt secure for the first time in my career.
    “I’m so sorry Noble.”
    “Don’t be McHolt; it was never your fault.”
    “But if…” I stop, feeling the tears crawl down my face. He wipes them away with his hands.
    “Better me than you McHolt.” I smile, knowing that it was better for him to save my life, than for me to save his.
    “I also never got the chance to say thank you.” He blushes scarlet grasping my arms, pulling me close. The warmth of his body engulfed my frozen body.
    “For what?” He asks, rubbing my arms engulfing me with heat and warmth.
    “Saving my life. You’re my hero.” I whisper, leaning against his chest softly listening to the thumping of his heartbeat and the suddle sound of him breathing in and out.
    “McHolt, I’m your partner; we look out for each other.” Thunder began to shake the building and lightening lit up the sky, I clung to his chest for protection.
    “It’s okay. I’m here.” He whispers on my head. Slightly inhaling, he sighs.
    “I’ll always be here.” The rain had started to pour. Splotching the window with tear drops of rain.
    “You better got some rest.” I tell him, ushering him towards the bed.
    “So do you McHolt. When was the last time you slept?” He asks, placing one hand over his wound where my hand had been, softly wincing with pain.
    “I’m sorry.” I whisper, He pulls me into his arms,
    “Don’t be…it’s not your fault.”
    “I slept yesterday and a couple of hours ago, it doesn’t matter I can run without hours of sleep, as for you get some sleep. I’ll be back in the morning.” I tell him, grabbing my scarf I had discarded on the chair walking out of the room but not before looking back at him with him glancing back at me a grin had been on his face. It disappeared when I walked out of the room, wiping the sudden tears in my eyes.
    “I could only imagine him ever falling in love with a girl like me.” I whisper to myself waiting for a taxi. When I had returned home, I saw a shadow move across the kitchen. Grabbing my off-duty piece, I ran towards the kitchen on tip-toe when I bumped into my partner.
    “What the hell are you doing here Noble?” I ask, letting go of the gun that had been in my hands ready to fire.
    “Sorry McHolt. I needed to make sure you were all right getting home.” He tells me holding me in his arms.
    “You’re freezing, stay here for the night. I’ve got a couch.” I tell him, getting up and walking away, “And Mr. Noble if I see that door turn I shall have you know I sleep with a gun.” He chuckles, walking towards the couch, wincing heavily.
    “Are you all right?” I ask, helping him on the couch. He nods, holding out his wounds.
    “You don’t need to do this McHolt.” He tells me,
    “Yes I do, Noble. You need…” I stopped hearing a noise, pulling my gun back he is by me in an instant.
    “What? What do you hear?” He asks, pulling me behind him. A knock sounded on the door. A voice called through the wall.
    “Katy, Katy, open up.” Zack’s voice pounded through the door. I sighed a heavy sigh of relief. Opening the door I ask,
    “Zack what are you doing here?” I saw that he had brought his daughter Isabella. She was happy to see me, I picked her up.
    “Auntie Katy!” She screams, giggling with glee. Zack smiles, and states,
    “Katy, I need you to babysit. Dally’s getting pissed and…”
    “You’re worried something’s going to happen to you.” I finished kissing his cheek.
    “But I can’t baby-sit. Have you asked Hannah and Roger?” He didn’t answer he just stormed out of the house taking Issy with him. Allen and I glanced at each other almost smiling.
    “Good night,” we told each other simultaneously as I walked to my bedroom.
    Dec 19
    8:30 a.m.
    Loud banging on the door interrupted me from sleep.
    “Damn it,” I growl, yanking the blankets off of my body watching Allen get up off the couch revealing his abs with bruises and pale skin and his dark blue jeans. Walking to the door, I grumble, “This better be important.” The man outside the door was my brother, Zack.
    “Zack, what on earth are you doing here?” I ask, giving him a bear hug. He returns it, asking permission to step inside.
    “Permission granted. You still haven’t said a word about why you are here.” I state as he glances around suspiciously, eyeing Allen’s shirt and bandages.
    “Is someone here?” He asks, collapsing onto the couch just inches where Allen had slept.
    “Yes, a friend from work, why do you ask?” I wonder as he began to finger my arm where I stood several inches away.
    “Katy, who?” He ponders, wondering harder and harder why he is acting this way.
    “Sergeant Noble, alright, Sergeant Noble is here. He came here because Harper escaped from the scene of the crime and my security system is crap.” I explain the entire story to him as Allen walked into the room. Zack stands up and I see the bag inside his pocket. Disappointed in myself and him.
    “Katy, haven’t you learned yet? Don’t date anyone from work especially this son-of-a-b***h. He ain’t the one for you.” He crosses his arms in anger as Allen comes into the room. Zack backhands me. The force pushing me back into the counter, I heard myself scream. Allen holds him back with his arm.
    “Are you all right?” He asks me, holding out his other hand.
    “I’ll be fine.” I tell him, as he helps me up. He presses into my cheek; I cover it with my hair.
    “Don’t.” I warn, gripping his wrist. It had been warm against the coldness of my own hand. Zack had been looking at me, concern in his bright black eyes.
    “I’m s…” I held out my hand.
    “Save it Zack, you were just being protective.” I tell him, still holding the cheek and trembling with fear. After I introduce them, I took a chair beside Allen and sat down.
    “Why are you here?” I ask. He pulls out a bag from his pockets handing it to me.
    “Zack! You promised! How could you?” He shhes me with a hand.
    “Katy, I’m clean. Dally’s dealt it to me.” He tells me as I poked a hole into the bag handing it to Allen who insisted on tasting it.
    “That’s pure cocaine.” He states, “Not pure, tastes like powdered sugar.” Placing a hand on mine, his eyes glare past me. There in the doorway was Dallas McGrath. I got up not soon before Allen pulls me behind him.
    “Katrina McHolt, it’s been far too long. Zachary, you didn’t tell me you were going to visit your darling little sister.” He states twirling me around.
    “Yes, McGrath, it’s been far too long. I can see we hadn’t kept our little arrangement.” Allen states, crossing his arms, hooking a thumb under the small of my back.
    “Dally, what the hell are you doing here? Did you follow me all the way to my sister’s house?” Zack snaps.
    “Zachary, do you understand you cannot cross me?” He opens his overcoat, revealing a .38 caliber. I grasp Allen’s forearm.
    “Dallas, put the gun down. Zack’s with his sister, give them some time alone.” Allen commands. Dallas walks out of the room with Allen following softly at his heels.
    “Zack, listen to me, you have to lie to Dallas, it’s only this once. I promise.” I tell him, hiding the bag in the kitchen cabinet.
    “Katrina, remember I’ll always be here if you need me.” He whispers, leaving the room. I hear the phone ring as soon as he slams the door.
    “Katrina McHolt.”
    “It’s Montana; I need the file on Jack.” I mouth this to Allen who in turn hands the file to me.
    “Does Mr. Fed know you’re doing this?” I ask, when Allen laughs collapsing onto the couch.
    “Funny you ask Shaun’s the one who wants that file.” I laugh along with Allen.
    “Took him long enough to figure it out.” Allen states as I hang up. I laugh again noticing how good it makes me feel.
    “Take the file to her. I’m not going in.” I tell him, when he asks for a reason, I tell him for personal reasons. He hugs me tight.
    “Good. You need a day off. You hadn’t taken a personal day since your parents died.” I smile, blushing softly.
    “Sixteen years since that detective…Detective Bryan McKnight showed up…sixteen whole years since I saw them murdered.” I whisper, watching the tears fall through the mirror. Touching the mirror I suddenly had idea.
    “What if Jack didn’t commit suicide?”
    “McHolt, what are you talking about? We all saw him.” I tell him about my mirror theory, he points to the mirror. He crosses his arms and looks to the floor.
    “Noble, I took a picture of the incident. There is a mirror in Lexi’s kitchen. I saw it all differently.” I tell him going for my phone, when he grabs my wrist.
    “Then why didn’t you come forward with this, two months ago. When the incident occurred?” He asks,
    “Because I knew it would upset her. Her brother just died. I was trying to be a good friend.” I hear my phone ring.
    “Katrina McHolt,”
    “Kate, you need to get down here, we got another body. And you’re never going to believe who it is. Eleanor Noble.”
    I stare at my watch.
    “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” I tell them, hanging up the phone. He stares at me. I explain to him what had happened leaving out who the body was.
    “Where is the body?” He asks, getting into the car, driving expertly through the city.
    “Over on Desert Foothills Parkway and Chandler Boulevard.” I tell him hiding the fact that it was his ex-wife.
    In a matter of twenty minutes, I was staring into the face of a dead body in the middle of Safeway. I limp my way through security, hoping to god no one had noticed how weak and vulnerable I was.
    1:10 a.m.
    Dec 27
    “Hey Dr. O’Brian, how are you?” I asked him pulling on blue latex gloves.
    “I’m exhausted awakened in the middle of the night. The first one to appear on the scene is your friend Alexis. I thought you should know.”
    I walk over to Noble.
    “Hey Noble. I’m so sorry for your loss.” Grasping his hand, he whispers,
    “Thank you, McHolt.” He pulls me into his arms. After a few moments, he walks away silent, I watch turning away walking back to Dr. O’Brian.
    “How’s he doing?” He asks.
    “He’s barely hanging on. You got a cause of death?” He breathes.
    “Strangulation. There are no signs of ligature, but around her throat are contusions and there were defensive wounds on her arms and legs.”
    “Was she strangled by hand or with something?” I hear Allen ask, grasping my shoulder for support emotional and physical.
    “The ligature marks are bruised. Someone strangled her with their bare hands.” He explains. Allen looks away.
    “Noble, do you know of anyone who would murder her?” I asked. He stares at me in cold barren silence.
    “Allen, I have to ask you this. I know what it’s like to lose someone.” I tell him.
    He nods.
    “Her first husband, Barrett Warner. He’s a total jackass. He’s the reason I met Nora in the first place.” I felt my breath become shallow I remember that case well. A 9-1-1 call I was working domestic along with Allen, he had let her stay with him, nine months later, they got married. It about broke my heart when he told me he loved her.
    “You had to arrest him?” I ask, wiping away tears. He nods.
    “Yep. In fact Harper and Barrett got along exceptionally well.”
    “Gee…I wonder why.” Crossing my arms the sleeve on my sweater fell revealing re-appearing bruises. He stares at it, cupping my arm with his hand.
    “He did this to you?” he asks as fresh tears clung to my lashes he placed a hand upon my cheek wiping at the tears that I cried.
    “I’m petrified of him, what if something was to happen to me?” I held his hand for my own support. He responds when I gave his hand a gentle squeeze.
    “McHolt, Harper would kill you if he had the chance. I can’t let that happen. I won’t.” He whispers, going back to the scene. I held the cheek he touched walking away blushing scarlet.
    Alexis walks over.
    “Did you notice anything else?” I ask, staring at CSU canvassing the scene.
    “Yeah. It reminded me of the first case where Harper joined the task force.”
    “You don’t believe in that do you Kate?” Harper asked, placing an arm around me. Shaun’s pupils enlarge in anger. He walks over to us,
    “Get your hands off her Cole. Maybe in twenty years you’ll have the right to an opinion.” Harper walked off, grumbling to himself.
    “Thanks for getting rid of him Mr. Fed.” I tell him. He stares at me, concern lingering in his eyes. I could tell he was staring at my bruises. I decided to show him all of them.
    “He caused those?” He asked, grasping my arm pressing into a yellowed bruise. I try not to wince as Noble glanced over at me.
    “Katy, I’m sending a uniformed officer over to your house so he can’t hurt you.” Shaun explained walking away.
    I felt Harper Cole’s hand on my shoulder.
    “You can’t just expect them to save your life every time.” He whispers. I shivered, walking away from his hold on me. Noble drags me behind him. When he nods, he softly weaves his fingers in between mine. He hides me in a storage closet.
    “I can’t believe he still has his badge even after this.” He states, staring at me.
    “You don’t have to do this.” I tell him, crossing my arms.
    “Yes I do McHolt. I was sworn to serve and protect. That rule includes you.” He lowers his voice. I felt my cheeks grow warm with heat and embarrassment. I only hoped he couldn’t see.
    “Thank-you. For everything, risking your life, protecting mine…” I tell him, disappearing out the back door. I rode home in a cab with two officers. They were sitting guard outside when I was inside. I heard the door slid open when I was upstairs. I grab my off duty piece pointing it in front of Zack.
    “Zack! What the hell are you doing here?” I exclaim, staring at the officer’s sleeping form.
    “I needed to see you Katy.” Why was he being so strange?
    “You shouldn’t do this to yourself. Date someone else. No one from work especially Noble.” He crosses his arms before collapsing onto the couch.
    “Zack! He loves me! He has protected me from a bullet.” I screech.
    “Kate, calm down. I didn’t mean…”
    “No Zack, you meant every word.” Opening the door, he sees what I’m trying to do.
    “Kate, you…wouldn’t…not your own brother.” His eyes widen with surprise.
    “Zack, please, you should go.” I whisper, closing the door.
    4:10 a.m.
    CSU finished bagging her body.
    “Where’s Kate?” Alexis asks me while Shaun kept an eye on Harper.
    “I sent her home.” Her mouth is covered with her hands in shock.
    “You what? Are you crazy? If she’s alone, he’ll kill her.” I grasp her shoulders.
    “I also left her heavily guarded. Geez, Lex-a-million have some faith in me.” She sighs.
    “All right, but if she gets hurt again…well she better not get hurt again.” She states pointing a finger on my chest. I walk out of Safeway into the safe, hollow walls of my car.
    Driving to the precinct, I had wondered about her. I fought the strong urge to call her while I hear the “ding” of the elevator; when the doors opened, there she stood.
    “Hey, Noble. Guess who won the bet?” She asked her clear blue eyes sparkled.
    “Who?” I asked pulling out my wallet.
    “Me.” She states, pointing at herself.
    “How did you know?” I ask, handing her the money she won.
    “Let’s call it woman’s intuition.” She laughs, walking towards her desk. She stares at one of the multiple ringlets on her desk. She was usually so neat and tidy.
    “I was going to get a good workout to help me through the rest of today. I’ll be upstairs if you need me.” She grasps my forearm.
    “Okay,” There was a slight pause, “Just do me a favor and don’t leave this building.” I tell her as she heads for the stairs glancing back before she heads up with two uniformed officers following at her heals. I shrug my broad shoulders, laughing. Glancing at the file she left on her desk on top of all the ringlets. I hear my phone ring.
    “Sergeant Allen Noble, Homicide.” I answer waiting for the tension in my belly to go away.
    “Hi Allen, it is Leo McCellan. I called to say I dropped off the Polaroids. Kate had been there sitting at her desk circling a ringlet. Did she ever figure out who’s sitting at her desk? She was happy the vic had been a prostitute. How much did you lose?” He chuckles. I sigh into the phone annoyed that he had known.
    “Twenty-bucks. Leo, when am I ever going to learn?” I ask him wiping the sweat from my forehead.
    “Al, you still haven’t learned your lesson? Christ what a question! I’m hanging up.” He states, when I heard the click, I chuckled. McHolt hears me laugh as she walks over from her workout,
    “Hey Noble. What’s so funny?” McHolt asked, tying the belt on her coat.
    “Leo he said something funny.” She smiles before saying,
    “I should’ve guessed. He’s such a guy.” She begins to laugh again. Her laughter dies after awhile.
    “You okay?” I ask when she collapsed into a chair. I pick up one of the Polaroids, staring at them, I hear her walk behind me. I inhale softly.
    “You smell like peaches.” She smiles, we stare at each other, blue on brown.
    “I’m not interrupting something am I?” Leonardo McCellan inquired, waltzing into the room.
    “No.” Katrina
    “Yes.” Allen
    “Ha, I knew it.” I felt my cheeks blush scarlet. She elbows me knocking me out of my blushing spell.
    “Thanks, Leo for bringing the file over.” She states walking over to him. He wraps an arm around her. Even from where I stand, I can almost taste the stench of alcohol lingering on his breath.
    “Where’s Alexis?” I watch as McHolt chokes on the scent of his breath.
    “She’s with Shaun at Safeway. The…the crime scene.” She gulps, lying a hand upon her heart, “Leo, what on earth have you been drinking?” She asks, hiding behind me.
    “Black Opal Brandy a gift from my girl.” Katrina and I roll our eyes. Leo gasps, instantly defensive. “It’s our two week anniversary.” Katrina laughs.
    “Oh…two weeks, huh.” I state, throwing a punch on his arm.
    “And she’s still going with a guy like you? That’s rich Leo.” He flicks a French fry form my desk at her.
    6:00 a.m.
    “Hey.” Alexis calls, grabbing Katrina’s arm.
    “What’s going on?” She crosses her arms while Katrina pulls the fry out of her hair.
    “Nothing. We were just making fun of Leo.” I tell her when Shaun comes up behind her.
    “Why Leo?” I pat her shoulder.
    “He’s rip roaring’ drunk on the new brandy his girlfriend got him.” Leo grasped Katrina’s arm. When she released a wince, I turned away letting go of the emotions I tangled holding them deep within my heart. Katrina turns me around towards her. I spot Nicolas and Caleb walking this way.
    “What are you two doing here so early?” I ask, quickly hiding the Polaroids. I had tried for years to keep their innocence but nothing I did prevailed.
    “Miss Katrina said you were down here when we tried to call you.” Nick pointed out, as Caleb remains quiet.
    “She did? That was nice of her.” I said absentmindedly looking at the Polaroids instead of glancing at Katrina who was looking at me.
    “Dad, is it okay if I go see a movie with Vanessa tonight?”
    “Which movie?” I asked out of parental curiosity.
    “Sherlock Holmes.”
    “Sure, Nick. Remember to be a complete gentleman and be back by curfew.”
    “Thanks, Dad. I will.”
    They ran out the door. Katrina’s phone began to ring.
    “Detective Katrina McHolt, Homicide.” Her expression changed from one of fun to fear. I held the chair out for her. She fell down into it, grasping my hand.
    “You’re sure he’s gone…escaped? How? When?” She asks, squeezing my hand. She was scared. I was scared. Alexis, Shaun and I exchange a look when she hung up the phone. She glances at me before whispering,
    “Harper, he ran away from the scene…he could be anywhere by now.” She releases her grip on my hand.
    “Sorry.” The one word lingering in the air unspoken. Alexis placed her hand in front of me, staying her ground.
    “Where are you going?” She asks, her eyes glaring with unbarring fear for Katrina.
    “She can’t stay here. Harper knows she’s here. He could be here any second. I’m not letting him get anywhere near her.” I snap. She falls back as if I slapped her. Shaun leaves the room, with Alexis following in his tracks.
    “Are you all right? You seem upset.” Katrina states, she walks towards me. Staring at me with beautiful blue eyes hiding behind eyeglasses she used to read with.
    “I’ll be fine. I just…” I stop, reining in the emotions that I felt for her. I wasn’t even sure if she felt the same way. I always took what I could as friends and gave back what a friend could give.
    “Harper.” She whispers, I put her behind me. I couldn’t have it on my conscience she ever got hurt. Harper suddenly appears from the shadows cast by the walls and the elevator.
    “You can’t hide forever, Kate.” He taunts pointing the gun at her wavering it towards me.
    “Harper, Harper put the gun down. Don’t do this.” Leo tells him pointing his own service weapon at him. Harper glares at him in anger shouting the words,
    “Shut the hell up, Leo. No one gives a damn what you think you god-for-saken drunk.” The words had stuck a cord in Leo. He fired the gun.
    “Run!” I whisper as the first few shots rang out in the air, Katrina hisses back.
    “No. Not without you.” I drag her down under my desk. The room was quiet almost too quiet.
    “Noble,” She whispers, tugging at the sweater vest I wore. I stare at where she is pointing. A puddle of blood. Someone lay hurt.
    “Stay here.” I tell her, grabbing the gun she wore on her belt. Slowly I stand up; keeping my guard, I walk towards the dark stain of blood seeping through the carpet, I came across a body.
    “Leo.” The word hung in the air as she walks over. She gasps,
    “Oh my God.” Her hands cover her mouth as I kneel down. Pressing two fingers to his neck.
    “Kate, he’s still alive. Go call 9-1-1 tell them to hurry.” I order.
    5:30 p.m.
    The bar’s lighting had been dimmed for the bar’s couple’s night. Sam, the bar tender, had been cleaning a glass when he saw her.
    “Miss, the gentleman over there bought you your usual. He handed her, her drink, a bloody Mary.
    “How ironic.” She said to the bartender, “That man is a medical examiner.” She waved her hand at him, Dmitri O’Brian; he waves back, walking up to her.
    “A bloody Mary, excellent choice.” He tells her raising his glass. She clings her glass to his, listening to the enriching sound.
    “Cheers.” He whispers,
    “Cheers.” She responds, “Aisha Lockwood.”
    “Dmitri O’Brian.” He shook her hand, warm engulfing her frozen hand.
    “What do you do?” He asks her.
    “I’m a reporter for channel three.” She replies taking a sip of her drink.
    “That’s interesting.” He tells her as two detectives walked forward to him.
    “Allen, Kate, what the hell are you doing here?”
    “I’m sorry Dmitri. What did you do with Jack’s file?”
    “Why are you doing this? Jack is dead. Stop dragging Alexis’s name through the mud. She just started getting her life back.” The man shrieks at the female detective. She steps back as if he had slapped her.
    “I apologize Aisha, this involves business.” She smiles, placing a hand on his arm.
    “Go. I’ll be waiting.” She tells him as he walks away with the detectives.
    “This theory of yours better be good Noble. You wrenched me away from a beautiful woman.” The male detective chuckles.
    “Dmitri, what if Jack was murdered, would that impact anything?” The female detective asks, as Dmitri begins to think.
    “No, that’s not possible. You all saw him.” He states, waving his hands.
    “McHolt took a picture, through the mirror; the window to the fire escape is opened.” Dmitri glances at Katrina, the female detective.
    “When CSU and I got to the scene, that window was closed.” The woman walks up to Dmitri.
    “Aisha, glance at these two pictures and tell us what you see.” She looks at them, staring with awe.
    “Dmitri, is this about that ‘fallen’ sergeant?” He nods; the sound of gun fire rang out into the cold. Katrina pulled out a gun and her shield. Allen pulls her back.
    “No, you’re not going out there alone.” She snares.
    “Who said I was going alone?” They both walk out into the night never once thinking it might be their last.

    Dec 27
    6:00 p.m.
    Stepping out into the cold, I was almost thrown back into the warm bar.
    “Kate, stay behind me.” Allen orders, handing me an extra glock 9 mm.
    “I will.” My instincts slowly went up as we past a dark alley. I grab Allen’s arm, practically throwing him in that alley.
    “Stay here. I can’t have it on my conscience if you got hurt.” He tells me. I nod, somehow, silently knowing he would say this.
    “Be careful.” I tell him, turning around I see a man stepping out of the moonlight holding a gun. The munching of snow came closer as the man walked towards us.
    “Move back.” I told him in my cop voice. “This is an ongoing police investigation,” The man grabbed a hold of my neck strangling me with his bare hands. Tiny black dots flood my vision staring hard I tried to get him to let me go before I blacked out. Allen tackled him, holding me in his arms.
    “Kate! Kate! Can you hear me?” He shouts, “I feel woozy.” I whisper sinking my hand further into the snow.
    “Kate!” He shouts, “No. Please don’t.” I didn’t couldn’t hear anymore, I had blacked out.
    6:15 p.m.
    “Kate,” I whisper. “No please don’t.” I whisper those three words. “I love you.” I drove her home. Dante, her German Shepard was no where to be found. I place her on her bed looking for extra blankets, when Dante climbed on to her bed, softly growling. My cell phone began to ring.
    “Allen Noble, Homicide.”
    “She should be dead.” A voice snapped. Katrina snagged the phone.
    “I’m sorry to disappoint.” I hear her become stronger.
    “You didn’t just disappoint us, you angered us. Now the Valiant’s leader is after you.” Once I heard him say this, Katrina begins to cry. She hung up the phone, falling into my arms.
    “Kate, it’s all right. You can stay with me and the kids.” I offer she glances at me blue on brown.
    “No. I can’t put your kids in danger, Al. I…”
    “What about a hotel room?” I offer, not wanting to leave her alone.
    “I could go back to my parents. They’ll understand.”
    “You’re willing to…” I stop shaking my head. She called Dante to her, petting her dog was so comforting to her. She walks up to me grasping my hands and whispers,
    “Thank-you. You saved my life.” I blush bright scarlet.
    “I just did my job Kate. You would’ve done the exact same thing if it were me.” I tell her, walking away, heaving a heavy sigh.
    “Are you okay?”
    “I’m fine.”
    “I can tell when you’re lying.” She sing-songs turning me around grasping my hands,
    “I love you.”
    9:00 a.m.
    Her face is pale.
    “Are you sure?” I whisper. Her face was colorless then she blacked out. Shaun walks over.
    “Oh God.” He states; staring from her to me,
    “What the hell did you do to her?” He snaps. Shaun punches me square in the jaw. I fall against the wall careful to where Katrina lay.
    “Shaun!” Alexis squeals, grabbing his fist, as he got ready to punch me again. A bruise was already swelling where I was punched.
    “McHolt?” I ask, stroking her cheek. Emotions kept tumbling down my throat.
    Where am I?”
    She asks, as the tears in my eyes fell. Helping her up, Shaun apologizes.
    “I’m…” I stop him putting a hand in the air. Katrina heavily leans against me.
    “Save it. It doesn’t matter.”
    “But I accused you of hurting Katy.” Strangely, Katrina holds her ground. She saw what had happened between us and yet she remains silent throughout the entire conversation. I stare at her; her soft features were fading from lack of sleep. I usher her to a chair.
    “You guys better go home, get some sleep. We’ll let you know of any progress.” I tell them; when they left, I softly coax her head upon my chest.
    “McHolt, you need sleep.” I whisper, she solemnly gave up when she released a yawn.
    “Promise me, you won’t leave.” She smiles softly closing her clear blue eyes.
    “I give you my word, McHolt. Now get some sleep.”
    A nurse walked over to me softly waking me up.
    “Mr. McCellean wishes to speak to the both of you.” I nudge Katrina.
    “Katrina. Kate, wake up.” I tell her.
    “Come on. Leo wants to talk to us.” Helping her up, she leans the majority of her weight against me. I could tell she was exhausted. Opening the door, Leo sat up in bed. I shake his hand.
    “Noble, McHolt. You two owe me big.” He laughs.
    “I owe you my life, Leo.” Katrina whispers, sitting on the bed.
    “It’s no problem Kate. You’d do the same for me.” He grasps her hand.
    “Has Alexis or Shaun found that son of a b***h yet?” I shake my head.
    “Nope. Even the lieutenant is furious with Harper’s actions.” There was a knock on the door and Homicide Lieutenant Kayleigh Roberts walks in holding a vase filled with lilies.
    “You two know Kayleigh. She’s my girlfriend.” He waves to her, as she places the vase on the table next to the bed. She stares at Kate as she stares out the window.
    “Kate? Are you all right?” She asks, placing a hand on her shoulder. Katrina shrugs it off.
    “I don’t wish to talk. We’ll leave you two alone.” She says at last. I follow her out of the room.
    “Are you okay?” I ask her. She nods.
    “I’m fine. I’m going home. I’ll see you later, Noble.” I watch as she walks out of the room.
    10:00 pm
    I sat in my living room softly staring at the fireplace as it popped and crackled.
    “Dad!” Nick states waving a hand in front of my face.
    “I’m sorry Nicolas. What were you saying about the movie?” I whisper, when he smiles, I ask.
    “You must really like her, Dad. You’ve been staring into space for ten minutes.” He says leaving the room. I grab my coat and head towards the car yelling a goodbye over my shoulder.
    10:30 pm
    “Alexis?” I call, entering the homicide floor. The floor was completely dark,
    “Al, I’m back here.” Alexis responds. I run up to her.
    “What’s new on the first vic?” I ask. She tosses me a plastic bag containing a single casing.
    “She was killed with a 9mm handgun. Ballistics found the same bullet lodged within Captain James Whitaker.” She explains.
    “They were killed with the same gun? Oh God, McHolt was right. We are looking at a copycat.” I groan. She collapsed into a chair. I gave her hand a squeeze. Her emotions falling through the cracks of the walls she builds every day.
    “I’m sorry.” She whispers,
    “Don’t be, it was never your fault.” I tell her. I held her as she cried. Kate had come in at that exact moment. Her heart ached for Alexis and held her for a while.
    “You two are my best friends. Thank you for doing this. You didn’t have to.” She whispers her hands lay cold in both mine and McHolt’s. Suddenly McHolt spoke up.
    “I’m sorry Alexis, I wish to go home.” She states staring at me.
    11:00 pm
    Dec 22
    The power outage still continued. I glance at my watch.
    “Kate,” The voice drones. I grab my off duty .24 caliber.
    “Katrina!” The voice calls even louder more masculine than before.
    “Kate! Open up!” I ran to the front door covering myself in a jacket.
    “Noble, what are you doing here?” I ask, wrapping my arms around myself.
    “I need to know.” He whispers,
    “Harper said you…you…never mind.” He states in a confused manner.
    “What are you talking about Noble?” I ask him walking away from him, hiding my bruises.
    “Kate, he hurt you again didn’t he?” He asks while I nod showing him.
    “We’re up again. Sarah White was found in her home. Dead.” He glares me over.
    “You look horrible.” I turn away letting him in, glaring at him with a snark frown.
    “Thanks, Allen. Women really love hearing that.” I pour us both a cup of coffee.
    “Did you pull another all-nighter?” Allen
    “No. I crashed shortly after the power went out. So how did she die?”
    “One of the wine glasses tested positive for lunesta.”
    “She died of an overdose on a sleeping pill?”
    “Yes. The strangest thing was the suicide note.” Allen
    “The handwriting looks exactly like Jack’s.”
    “He’s…the handwriting! Ugh. Why didn’t I think of that?” I jump over the chair leading to my office.
    “What are you talking about?” He asks as he follows me into the office. I pull out a two-month-old suicide letter from Andrew Kingman’s file. He hovers over my shoulder reading the letter.
    “I’ll get someone to compare both letters.”
    “Good. I’ll get dressed. I want to see her to make sure it’s really Sarah.” I tell him, going back to the bedroom. I watch a shadow play on the wall.
    “Allen.” I call, my voice echoed into the living room.
    “Kate,” He responds running towards the sound of my voice.
    “What’s wrong?” He asks, noticing the shadow playing on the wall. Harper falls through the window.
    “Harper.” Allen and I say simultaneously. Allen pulls out his service weapon.
    “Get out.” Allen said, pulling back the trigger on the gun. I stand behind Allen,
    “Come on out Kate, your boyfriend can’t always protect you.” He taunts, pointing his gun at me. I gasp out in shock; Allen is the first to shoot. Harper falls down to the ground in pain.
    “Call Alexis, she needs to know.” Allen orders me, watching me go before turning back to Harper. Once I had called Alexis, I hear the door slam.
    “Allen, Harper.” I call running back to my room. Allen had been on the floor, hurt and Harper was no where to be found.
    “Allen!” I shriek, running to him. He leans up, rubbing at his ribs.
    “Kate, you’re okay.” He whispers, rubbing my arms.
    “I’m fine Al,” I tell him, smiling helping him up. He winces as I touched his ribs.
    “Come on. I’ll take you to Dmitri. Maybe he’ll put something on those ribs.” I tell him, helping him to the car.
    “No. They don’t hurt bad enough to see him.” He argues, putting his other arm around me. Allen picks me up, laughing with glee.
    “Put me…” I never got to finish my sentence as Allen and I collapsed onto the couch, wincing with seething pain, Allen rubs at his ribs. I wished he’d agree with me and go to Dmitri.
    “Don’t even give me that look Kate, I won’t see Dmitri,” He tells me getting up off of the couch. Noticing the blood on his hand, he tries to cover it with his other hand but it’s not soon enough I grab his wrist.
    “Allen, please, you need to go to Dmitri. You’re bleeding.” I shriek, grabbing my coat and belt, walking towards the car.