Blair couldn’t believe all of the activity going on in the bullpen. It was a madhouse. Connor walked up to him and said, “Everyone is in the conference room. Get the coal out.”
“It’s get the lead out, Connor. Crazy damn Aussie,” Jim grumbled. Blair couldn’t help but smile at both of them but lost his smile by the time he got to the conference room.
Jim and Blair followed her into the room and saw how packed it was. Simon waved to them to come over to the table by him and he had two chairs saved for them.
“The Commissioner’s grand-daughter was abducted this morning at the grocery store at 7:00. The Commissioner’s daughter, Sally Sanford, said that her daughter, Melanie, was there talking to her one minute and while she picked out the fruit to put into the muffins, someone took her. The store had a lock down and they looked everywhere inside before the officers got there. Once it was searched and she wasn’t found, they called it right in and we’ve all been on the case ever since.” Simon then handed paperwork to the two men and gave them a picture of four year old Melanie.
“Are we going to be able to get to the daughter to speak to her?” Jim asked.
“Ellison, this is high priority, you need to treat it as any other child abduction. She’ll talk to you, even if she is upset,” Simon barked.
“Where is she right now?” Blair asked.
“She’s at her own home, hoping that someone will call with a ransom demand. Her father is there with her. Treat him just like any other member of the family. They will need to be questioned as if they were you or me,” Simon added.
Everyone left the room and Jim looked at Simon and said, “Does anyone believe it was a kidnapping?”
Simon chewed on his unlit cigar and growled, “I haven’t a fucking clue.”
“We’ll get started right away, sir,” Blair said as they walked away from their boss.
They walked into the bullpen and started to get things ready to go. Connor walked over to them and said, “Would you like a third on this?”
Jim thought for a moment and said, “Yes, a third person might catch something we both missed. You’ll ride with us.”
“I can’t wait to meet the mother and see what we think of her,” Connor said as she grabbed her purse and followed the two men to the elevator.
“I would think she’s just an upset mother right now, nothing more or nothing less,” Blair guessed.
The three of them got off the elevator and walked to the truck. “Dibs on the middle,” Connor said with a laugh at the look on Jim’s face. “I was joking, Jimbo.”
“Good, because I want Blair next to me,” Jim said.
“Connor needs to be in the middle, Jim. I haven’t talked to anyone yet and I would like them to find out about us differently,” Blair said.
“I knew you guys would make up. I just knew it,” Connor said happily.
Jim glared at her for even thinking about anything else at that moment. “Whatever. Let’s just get this show on the road. We need to find this sick bastard before he does something to Melanie,” Jim said angrily.
Both Connor and Sandburg knew he wasn’t mad at them. He was just angry at life in general.
“Dad, I can’t think with all of these police officers in my home. Could we at least get half of them out?” Sally Sanford asked.
Commissioner Smith tried to be patient with his daughter. He knew she was crazed over her little girl being taken but he was going to have to explain to her how important it was to stay on top of things.
“Sally, we need to have everyone working the case. It’s important that we try and find Melanie in the first 48 hours. So please, just try and keep your head on straight and do what you have to do to help everyone.”
“Dad, I’m so scared,” Sally said.
Commissioner Smith started to say something to calm his daughter when the maid walked in and said, “Commissioner, we have three new officers at the door and they are asking to see you. They said that you asked for them to be on the detail. I left them at the door.”
“Thank you, Martha.”
The Commissioner walked to the door and said, “Please come in, Detective Ellison, Sandburg and Connor.”
Jim held out his hand and shook hands with the man, so did Blair and Connor.
Jim had a very serious look on his face. “Sir, we’re very sorry that your family has to go through this. We have questions to ask.”
“Let’s go into my office and ask all you want,” Smith said.
“Sir, we need to talk with your daughter. She will be asked questions too,” Blair said.
The Commissioner didn’t say anything-he knew the routine-just turned and walked towards the living room. Jim, Blair and Connor all followed him into the room.
“Have you found something?” Sally asked.
“No, Ma’am. I’m Detective Ellison; this is my partner Blair Sandburg and Inspector Connor. We need to ask some questions.”
“We’ve already answered all the questions we need to,” Sally said. Jim noticed the difference in her heartbeat when they walked into the room. It was almost like she was nervous, more then scared or upset.
Connor moved closer to the distraught woman and said, “Anything you can tell us might help us find your little girl. Now, where is her father?”
“My ex-husband lives about two blocks from here. He’s out of town and I can’t reach him right now,” Sally said.
Jim asked, “Are you on good terms with your ex-husband?”
“With Jeremy? Of course, we’re on good terms. He sees Melanie every weekend, so we have to keep things nice.” Once again, she had gotten way too upset to Jim’s liking. She had something she wasn’t telling them.
“He would have no reason to take her without your agreement?” Blair asked.
“He can have Mel as often as he would like, there would be no reason to take her,” Sally said, sounding somewhat exhausted to everyone, except Jim. He really felt like she was holding back on something.
“What about custody? Do you have joint custody?” Jim asked.
“Detective, why are we focusing on Jeremy? He wouldn’t hurt Melanie for anything and would have told me if he needed to take her for any reason.”
“So you have full custody?” Jim asked once more.
“Yes, and he has weekend and holiday visitation rights. He didn’t fight it, so I knew he was all right with that,” Sally said, sounding angry.
“He didn’t try to get any other type of custody?” Blair asked.
“Jeremy is a good man and a good father. He would never hurt our child,” Sally said, adamantly.
Connor said, “Well, we’re going to see the footage of the grocery store, so it would help if we had a picture of Jeremy to rule him out.”
“I think you’re all nuts. Why would Jeremy be a suspect? He’s out of town and he’s never fought me on anything.” Sally sounded annoyed now.
Jim was now focusing on her even more, drawing attention to himself by Connor and Blair.
“Ma’am, right now you are all suspects. Until we get proof of where everyone was and what they were doing at the time. So it’s time for questions and answers from you and your father,” Jim stated.
The commissioner had been quiet until then and said, “You want to question me?”
“Sir, this is just like any other case. We have to question everyone. First of all, where were you this morning at 7:00?” Blair asked.
Commissioner Smith sat down and said, “I suppose you’re right. I was already in my office at 7:00. My secretary was there also. You can confirm with her. Here is her card with her numbers on it.” He handed the secretary’s business card he pulled out of his wallet to Jim and Jim took it and put it in his pocket. Jim had listened to the man and didn’t pick up any trace of nervousness, like he did in the daughter. He knew the Commissioner was exactly where he said he was.
“Did you ever see any problems with Jeremy and your daughter when it came to Melanie?” Blair asked.
“Dad, what are you talking about?” Sally sounded quite indignant, almost annoyed, that her father wasn’t agreeing with her.
“Sally, he wanted to see Melanie more, but you had all of those rules. He felt that you were being selfish. He asked me to talk to you, but that was only last week. I didn’t have the time, so I let it slide. Where is Jeremy supposed to be right now?” the Commissioner asked Sally.
“He said he was in Seattle, working on a case,” Sally answered.
“What does he do for a living?” Jim asked.
“He’s a police detective at the five-one,” Sally answered.
Connor said, “I’ll get right on it and see where he is.” She walked out of the room punching numbers into her cell phone as she left.
“Dad, do you think Jeremy had something to do with this?” Sally asked.
Again, Jim just stared at her, because he had the feeling she knew exactly where her little girl was. Jim could also tell that Blair and Connor knew too.
“I didn’t at first, but now I wonder if he was upset about the terms. He did talk to me last week and I forgot about it. He might have felt like he had no other way to get some time with her.”
Rafe walked in with the video feed from the store and said, “Here you go, Jim. Simon said to bring it right over.”
Jim asked, “Could we please put this in your VCR and play it?”
Sally said, “You’ll see it wasn’t Jeremy. Go ahead, play it.”
Jim popped it into the machine and turned the television on. It started to play and they watched as she turned her back on her daughter for a long period of time and while she was doing that, a man took Melanie and Melanie went willingly.
“Oh my God, it is Jeremy. I can’t believe he would kidnap his own daughter,” Sally said but there was an oddly cold note in her voice.
Jim knew that something else was going on, but he wasn’t sure of what it was, yet.
“If she’s with Jeremy, she is fine. Let’s call this manhunt off. I believe that I can reason with Jeremy and get him to bring her home without any problems. He had asked to take her this week to see his mother in Seattle. She has cancer. Maybe she got worse. Sally, did he ask if he could take Melanie?” Commissioner Smith asked.
“Yes, but I told him it would have to wait until Saturday, when he had her for his visitation time. He tried to tell me it was important, but I told him he had to follow the rules or he wouldn’t see her at all. We have to enforce the rules”
They all sat there quietly, thinking about what she had done and Jim finally said, “Commissioner, do you think you could call him and ask him to bring her home?”
The Commissioner dialed his cell phone number and heard, “Hello?”
“Jeremy, this is dad. I’m sorry I forgot to talk to Sally about this week, I have no other excuses. Did you take Melanie up to see your mother?” The Commissioner then put the phone on speaker phone and they waited for Jeremy’s reply.
“Yes, dad, I did. She’s not going to last the week and she asked to see Melanie. I talked to Sally, I explained to her what was going on and she refused to let me take her. There was no other way, sir. She left me no choice. My mother is spending her last days with her granddaughter and I wish I was sorry about taking her, but Sally made it impossible.”
“It’s all right, son. You keep Melanie up there all week with your mother and bring her home this weekend. I will talk to the police and get everything taken care of. When you come back, you will file for joint custody and Sally isn’t going to fight you on it. I’m sorry she made you do this, Jeremy.”
“Thank you, dad. Somehow I knew you would understand. I should have gone to you instead of her. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I probably caused a lot of people to worry and I never should have done that. Will I be arrested when I get back?” Jeremy wondered.
“I will see to it that there are no charges brought. We’ll be closing this right now. You take care of Melanie and your mother. Tell her I wish her well. I’m very sorry you have to go through this, Jeremy. Now take care and we’ll talk to you later, goodbye.”
Jim stood up and said, “Commissioner, he still kidnapped her.”
“No he didn’t. He asked for permission and my daughter forgot about it. Didn’t you, Sally?”
Sally looked somewhat confused but knew that tone her father was using was not a happy tone. “Yes, he had told me he was taking her, but I forgot. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. I never should have called because of my bad memory.”
“We have to write a report up, Commissioner. We can’t get around that,” Blair said.
“My daughter was being cruel and for that you’re willing to make a man suffer because he wanted his little girl to see his mother for one last time? No, we’re dropping the charges, because there is no case. File whatever you want, but we’re not going to change our minds.”
The Commissioner asked everyone to leave and he looked sad and tired. Jim, Blair and Connor got into the truck and Connor said, “What the hell are we supposed to do with that?”
“I don’t think we need to write up anything. We’ll just say she forgot that they had made arrangements ahead of time and go from there,” Blair suggested.
“I know one person I feel sorry for right now and it’s not Jeremy,” Connor joked.
“The Commissioner acted like his daughter was always a bitch to him, so I was glad to see him take the son-in-law’s side for a change. It was a nice end to what could have been an awful outcome. Jim, did you know that something was going on with her right away?” Blair asked.
“Yes, I had a feeling it was something like this. Her heartbeat was beating super hard every time we mentioned Jeremy. I knew she had a little to do with it.”
“I’m just glad it worked out in the end,” Connor said.
“All right, no paperwork. Now this is the kind of case I wish we had all the time,” Jim said happily.
Connor looked at Jim and Blair and said, “Are you guys back to fooling around?”
“Connor, that is no one’s business but our own,” Jim said.
Ignoring Jim completely, Blair said, “Yes, we made up, Connor. I was an asshole and he accepted my apology. But we haven’t had the make-up sex yet. Simon interrupted that this morning.”
“Chief, is there anything that is sacred to you?” Jim asked, blushing bright red.
Connor and Blair both started laughing at the private man. This made the blushing worse.
“I’m glad you worked things out, because you make a great couple. Are you going to tell anyone else?” Connor wondered.
“Yes, I’m going to tell Simon, Joel and Henri, but I don’t know about Rafe yet. I know how he feels about gay dudes now and that makes things harder. He would probably only make fun of us,” Blair said.
“He would only make fun of us once, Chief, and then I would kick his ass out of the loft. He doesn’t have to like us, but I refuse to have someone over to the loft for poker that hates gay people.”
“Do you think he’ll notice that my bedroom is clean and now the office?” Blair asked, wearing a big smile on his face.
“I don’t care,” Jim replied.
“Congratulations on becoming a couple. It took Sandy a while, but I knew he would come around, Jimbo.”
Both men groaned at hearing the nicknames. This made Connor smile even more.
Once they were back in the bullpen, Jim and Blair filled Simon in on what was happening. They felt that Simon needed to be updated on what happened at the Commissioner’s house. When they finished talking to Simon they walked out of the office and completed the work on the report.
Joel walked by, smiled at both men and said, “Good morning.”
Blair looked up at Joel and knew he had to talk to him, but could he pull this off? “Joel, could I see you in interrogation room two?” Blair asked.
“Sure, lead the way.”
Jim sat down at his desk and knew he would be listening to see if it would go well or not.
As the two men walked in, Blair said, “Could you have a seat? I have something to tell you.”
Joel sat down, watched the young man pace and said, “Blair, I already know about you and Jim. I knew ages ago. Is that what you were going to tell me?” Joel wanted to put poor Blair out of his misery as soon as he could. He could see the young man relax immediately.
“Wow, that was way easier then I thought it would be,” Blair said relieved.
Both men laughed.
“So you were just a little confused the other night?” Joel prompted.
“A lot confused, Joel. But I slept on it and talked to Jim at 3:00 this morning and we worked things out.”
“Is that a new way of saying you fooled around?” Joel teased.
“No, there was no fooling around. No make-up sex. We both have to wait for that. We had to work this morning.”
“Thanks for telling me, Blair. I think you make a wonderful couple. Now don’t worry about things so much. And don’t let Rafe taunt you, either.”
“I haven’t decided if I’m telling Rafe or not. I know I’m going to tell Henri as soon as possible and Simon. But not sure about Rafe,” Blair said.
“You want me to send Simon in for the talk?” Joel kidded.
Blair took a deep breath and nodded his head slowly.