Whiting found himself handcuffed, sitting in the back of a squad car. With all of the changes in his life lately, this one seemed to be the worst. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember anything that happened after he left the police station. What did I do, he asked himself. All became clear when Peppers walked up to the car and opened the door. Grabbing Whiting by the shirt, Peppers pulled him out of the car. He slammed the reporter up against the hood.
“What did I do,” Bradley honestly wondered aloud.
“What did you do,” Peppers mocked in disbelief. “You just exploded my damn partner, you bastard!”
Peppers slammed him against the car once more. “You trying to get a head start on an insanity plea, you fuckin maggot? Stop acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about!”
The confused look upon Whiting’s face was enough to send Peppers over the edge. He punched the reporter square in the jaw. Peppers was about to swing again, but his fellow officers arrived in time to stop him. They managed to subdue him while they hurried Whiting away. Detective Peppers watched the car carrying Bradley drive away. He saw the man staring at the fiery building, watching it burn. Sitting on the curb, with his head hung low, tears began to roll down his face. A ringing disturbed his sadness. Answering his phone, he heard shouting at the other end. When the shouting was finally completed, he said, “Ok, chief. I’ll be right there.”
While Peppers was heading to his car, another man was leaving the scene. He stuck to the shadows on his way to his car. Needing some questions answered, he drove in the direction of the person who told him to be there. I’m going to get to the bottom of this, he thought. It took him awhile to get to her place, avoiding every cop that he saw. When he arrived, he saw her through the window playing with a little blonde girl. DS didn’t want to do anything while the little girl was around, so he waited until she went to bed to walk to the front door. He knocked a couple of times.
Samantha opened the door only to find an angry man standing there. Hands grabbed the front of her shirt. “Just what the hell did you get me into,” DS demanded of her.
Christian was also on his way to his daughter’s house after finding something interesting in DS’s file. The file on the assassin was quite impressive. He had never missed a target, left a witness, or left a body. That was not what concerned him this day, however. What concerned him is something he felt he should already know, but was kept from him. That pissed him off. Now, he was going to make sure Samantha knew that it pissed him off.
When Peppers arrived back at the station, he found Chief Velir in his office waiting on him. As soon as he walked into the room, he was bombarded. “Close the door,” Velir instructed. After Peppers complied, Velir continued. “What the hell happened out there, Peppers?”
Peppers told the chief the story, omitting the fact that he let Whiting look on his computer. He waited for his berating, but it was a few minutes before that came. “So,” the chief began, “You went to go get coffee and ended up asleep in your car? How does that happen to someone?”
“I went out there to get my mug and…”
“Bullshit! Tell me the truth!”
“That is the truth, sir.”
“No, it’s a giant load of crap, Peppers. TRUTH! NOW!”
“I already told you.”
“Then I have no choice. Because of your carelessness, another building is in pieces, your partner is dead, and you’ve managed to turn a reporter into a murderer. For the next week, you’re suspended.”
“YOU ARE SUSPENDED!”
“You say one more damn word and you’re fired. You’re lucky you’re only getting a week. If we weren’t so shorthanded, it would be a lot longer. Now, get the hell out of here.”
Peppers set his gun and badge down on the chief’s desk and walked out of the office. As he walked to his car, he wondered if he should keep pursuing the man who had run into the bank and assaulted the priest. It consumed his thoughts the entire way home. He was not a man who gave up on anything, but if he stayed on this case, he would be putting his career in jeopardy. That was not an option for him. As he entered his apartment, he decided to wash his hands of the entire mess and move on with his life.