~The Binding~

Chapter 40

Bron took the witness stand again. Kevin could see she was focused on Maddigan. When the anxiety became too much she would glance to him. He sat back in the chair with one ankle resting on his other knee, his fingers idly playing with the cuff of his pant leg. Maddigan kept drilling her on the same questions from the day before, her past and her present. Where she was, what she was doing, who she was involved with.

Maddigan spoke directly to the judge. "Prosecution rests with this witness."

Kevin watched Bron shake as Maddigan called an end to Bron's questioning. His eyes traveled to his watch, it was a half hour until the lunch break. He hoped the hell the judge would break early before Bron was cross-examined. Bron was falling apart even if nobody but he and Mc could see it.

"There is no sense in starting and stopping. We'll break for lunch and then reconvene at one." The judge slammed the gavel down and once again Kevin could breathe naturally.

Kevin was eavesdropping on the defense table as Bron waited in the witness box for the bailiff to clear the courtroom. Mc bumped his elbow into Kevin's side. Kevin turned to Mc as they both listened to the conversation coming from the defense table. The voices started out low and the volume rose slightly. Kevin heard a sound and turned to look at them casually. His legs were still crossed, his elbow rested on the chair. His head was propped in his hand. He was pretending to stare at his wife but he was listening to the agitated attorney speak harshly to Lenny.

"Lenny I'm telling you right now I don't care what you have done or how you have done it, but your brother has issued a warning that nothing else will happen with this. You'll get off, the lady will go back to wherever the hell she came from and this is over." The lawyer snapped his briefcase shut.

"It's not over until I break Mc. I was close this morning. My friend will see that it's taken care of. He has friends in the right places" Lenny chuckled.

"You're a fool." The attorney yanked his briefcase off the table and left Lenny with the guard.

Kevin leaned down pretending to tie his shoe. Mc did the same. "Now I'm worried because I think we all know who his friend is and why there was no security detail out there this morning. Mc you have to find Stevie, he has to be the one pulling the strings on this. He has to be." Kevin had gooseflesh wondering what Lenny meant by his comment.

Mc was out the courtroom doors before Bron even reached Kevin. Kevin latched onto her hand and guided her out of the courtroom and to the anteroom.

Bron took a chair as an officer closed the door but remained inside with them. Kevin was uncomfortable with this scenario. He pulled a chair across the room to be opposite Bron. Her face was ashen. "Are you going to be sick?" Sweat had already begun to slick her skin. Her face turned up to Kevin's. Her eyes were huge and full of panic.

"Yes," Bron swallowed hard as Kevin dashed for a trash can.

He said nothing as his wife's stomach rejected her breakfast. Kevin's gaze locked on the guard who didn't seem to even acknowledge they were in the room let alone Bron was sick. Waiting until she was finished he grabbed her hand and pulled her to the door. The cop stood there directly in their path. "Excuse us, she needs to clean up. We'll be right back." Like hell we'll be back. You aren't the same guy from yesterday, Kevin yelled in his head.

Bron shook her head. "I'm fine." She turned towards the chair she had been sitting in.

Something wasn't right in this room and it was giving him a bad vibe. "No you're not."

Kevin towed her through the doorway. "Let's find you a bathroom." Kevin searched the hallway and was lucky enough to spot a female matron. With caution he walked up to her. Now he didn't seem to trust anyone, not after this morning with the security detail, with what Lenny said, and now a freaky guard. Nobody was going to get close to them if he could help it.

"Um, my wife is sick. Is there a ladies room around here?" The woman pointed downstairs without so much as a glance in his direction.

Kevin glimpsed down to the open foyer below them. The space was filled with press. Kevin closed his eyes and with a puff of air from his lungs his bangs blew up. Kevin revealed a secret that he wasn't supposed to but he couldn't stand the fact that Bron would have to negotiate the cameras and microphones to go the ladies room. "She's pregnant and she's not feeling well."

"OH! Well, there's a restroom for employees up here. Let me get the key." The woman smiled at him.

Kevin went back to his wife and waited. Bron's face was almost gray, her breathing came in short inhales as she tried to hold back the waves of nausea. Kevin bent his knees and dropped down in front of her. He wrapped his larger hands around hers. "Hold on darlin' she's getting a key for you."

The matron walked past them. Kevin pulled Bron from the bench and followed the round middle-aged woman.

Slipping the lock in the door the matron pushed the door open. "Thank-" was all Bron could get out before both hands flew up to cover her mouth.

Kevin began to follow until a hand on his chest stopped him. He squared his jaw and looked at the police woman.

"I'm used to meaner faces than that and this is a ladies room." She stepped into the ladies room.

"She is my wife," Kevin turned his glare up a notch at the woman. The glare he reserved for unruly teenage girls and Nick.

"Look, I worked in the south district until I was demoted to this when Webster was moved in. I know who you are. I know what this trial is all about mister. Nothing will happen to your wife on my watch." The matron entered the bathroom. She paused, "That's a good mean face. I bet it works great on kids." The woman closed the door in his face.

Kevin shook. If she knew all of that, then everyone in that police station knew. "Christ," Kevin moaned.

He flipped open his cell and held the button in to turn it on. He hoped he could pick up signal in the old ornate courthouse. Marble, stone, and steel weren't compatible with a cell signal. The button flashed and he hit the preprogrammed number to Webster's Cell. Kevin searched down the corridor with his eyes for Maddigan or any other familiar faces. He didn't find any.

"We have a problem." Webster spoke to him.

"No shit," Kevin grumbled back as he stared at the door that separated him from his wife.

"I received word that Stevie was out here this morning and he was too damn close." Webster's sarcasm couldn't be missed.

"Where the hell were you guys this morning?" Kevin asked but wasn't sure if he was going to get an answer. The 'Stevie was outside' made Kevin's stomach turn. He didn't want to know who called Webster either.

"We were here. You didn't see us. I was alerted this morning that the South District needed reinforcements on a drug bust so the security detail was pulled. I got a call a little bit ago to tell me Stevie was out here this morning in plain view."

"Well now isn't that a coincidence." Kevin leaned on the door trying to hear what was going on the other side. He could hear talking but nothing that indicated there was a problem.

Webster's long drawn out exhale followed his comment. "Not really."

"Webster this isn't going to work. An old lady who used to work at where your suspicions lie told me even she knows what this about. I mean she really knows and she's just standin' around here. If she knows then they all know." Kevin pushed the door open slightly to see the matron pressing a wet paper towel to the back of Bron's neck as Bron stood over the sink.

"Where the hell are you?" Webster barked.

"Upstairs, using the employee restroom. Well Bron is. She's puking her damn guts out because she knows his attorney gets the next crack at her." Kevin placed a hand on the door and pushed it a little. Not enough to get noticed just enough to hear and see better. He listened.

"It's okay dear. You're going to be fine. All they have to do is talk to the right person instead of demoting them." Kevin closed the bathroom. Kevin was still on the phone. He could hear Webster running up the stairs on his cell phone. His head moved from side to side as Webster and Mc came running up the hallway. Kevin closed his phone as Webster and Mc pulled up in front of him.

"Who the hell is she talking to?" Webster barged into the bathroom not giving Kevin a chance to answer. Mc followed him. Kevin shrugged and joined the two men and the two women.

"Let's have a freaking party." Bron groaned as she raced for the stall.

Kevin went to her and held the door open for her. He listened to Mc and Webster shoot questions at the woman. "Who are you?" being the first one coming from Webster.

"I'm Officer O'Hara. I was Lieutenant O'Hara until you re-joined the force." The woman snapped to attention in front of her superior.

"Kevinnnn," Bron whined. Bron pushed the door open since it had swung back and whacked her.

"Sorry baby." Kevin handed her a paper towel that the woman had dampened for him while she spoke to Webster and Mc. Kevin stood with his hand on the top of the stall door so it didn't smack Bron again.

"What do you know about her?" Webster stood at the door.

Kevin could tell nobody was leaving this room right away; Mc blocked the door.

"What would you like to know? Would you like to know how Lenny raped this woman? How he set up the murder of her husband with his friend's help." The officer snarled at him.

"Oh God," Bron tried to stand up as another wave of queasiness hit her.

"Take this out of here now!" Kevin growled. He latched onto to Bron's waist since she had pitched forward. To hear a complete stranger repeat the family secret was making her heave even harder.

"No," the matron started to shove Kevin out of the way. Kevin wasn't budging. She turned sharply to Mc in a huff. "You punk," the woman muttered in disgust and turned back towards Kevin.

Kevin moved aside still a little shocked from the tone the woman used. Kevin checked the grin as he looked at Mc. A portly woman over 50 with gray hair, glasses, and poodle perm just called Mc a punk.

Bron stood up. She leaned her shoulders back on the metal stall. She swiped a clean wet paper towel over her face, so much for makeup. She pressed the towel to the base of her throat. "I remember you from the first time."

Kevin watched Bron rest her head against the cool metal of the stall. The officer tapped Bron's shoulder with her finger. Bron's head rolled towards her.

She began to wave her finger in Bron's face. "I told you he was trash twenty years ago. What are you still doing hanging with the likes of him?" The woman shot Mc a face and tapped the gun that rested on her side. "You should've been taken care of a long time ago."

Kevin watched Bron pass a fleeting glance over the two men who stood in front of her. They were waiting for an explanation from her and so was he. "Darlin' I don't understand." Kevin studied her. "Bron?"

"Ah Muriel," Bron sighed and then quirked her head to the side. Bron studied Mc whose eyebrows had gone up to his hairline. She glanced to Kevin. Funny his were doing the same thing. She moved her gaze to Webster. His reaction wasn't the same as the other two.

"Can I call you Muriel? I get so tired of repeating that story. We're friends. Let it the hell go. It's my business." Bron moved out of the stall and to the sink. Kevin took a few steps to be at her side. Bron rinsed her mouth out several times. Kevin watched her nose wrinkle up and she frowned. She tried to rinse her mouth out again and again.

"How do you know all this?" Webster stood in front of the door to the restroom after he locked it, from the inside.

Kevin's eyes darted from one person to the next. Bron obviously knew who the woman was and by the look on Bron's face, Mc should too. Kevin began to shift his weight from foot to foot. The room was confining for five people.

"Muriel has been in that precinct since the beginning of time. Haven't you Muriel?" Bron commented.

Mc's eyes narrowed and his head turned to the side. "Little Muriel O'Hara from the Southside?" Mc questioned.

"Yes I have been there for a long time. McDonald you're nothing but a sorry piece of-"

"Stop. He's not as bad as you think he is." Webster defended Mc. This woman knew some things but not all things.

Muriel looked at Bron. Bron's head came up from the sink and she looked in the mirror. Bron shrugged her shoulders up and down.

"That's not funny Bron," Mc growled from the other side of the aqua colored tiled room.

Bron cracked a smile. She ran her tongue along her teeth. Kevin didn't understand the new found confidence in Bron but it was directly related to the old woman standing in the bathroom with them. "You don't remember Muriel do you Mc? Muriel was there the first time you kicked my ass into ICU. She's the one that kept coming into the bar and pestering me to press charges. She drove me nuts."

Kevin pulled himself up seeing the expression Mc's face. His face showed nothing but animosity and rage.

Bron snickered as she looped her arm around Kevin's waist. She turned to Mc and batted her eyelashes at him in an overdramatic display even for her. "I thought she was going to get her buddies to try and drown you in the lake. She has a daughter my age you know."

Kevin was relieved to see the spark back in Spark. Bron broke from him and came to stand in front of him. Her back was now to him. He said nothing as he casually dropped both hands on her shoulders to steady her. She was noticeably shaking. Bron crossed her arms at her elbows and began rubbing her arms up and down.

"Yes I was and I should've done it to. I was a greenhorn detective back then. I moved through the ranks and made it all the way up to Lieutenant. I was trying for Captain but Webster was dropped in our laps and I was demoted and transferred thanks to the Captain."

Kevin removed his suit coat and dropped it around Bron's shoulders. He fished a lollypop out of his pocket and handed it to her.

"God, I wish you'd grow up." Bron moaned when she stared at the piece of candy. Webster handed her a tin of mints.

"Thank you." Bron opened the top after grabbing the box. She popped two in her mouth.

"Keep'em. You still look a little green around the gills." Webster commented.

Webster's demeanor changed rapidly. "Lieutenant-"

"It's officer. I've been demoted, Inspector." The woman returned the same harsh voice to Webster he had used on her.

Kevin could see a stand off starting between the Mc, Webster, and Muriel. Kevin cleared his throat. Muriel's gaze rested on him now. He was going to offer up something he had no business doing but to hell with all of them. What was important to him was nestled in his arms and she was going to stay there. "I heard you say if they talked to the right person instead of demoting them... If you can help us out in any way with this… to end this… as quick as possible… before I lose my wife or my baby… I would appreciate it."

If looks could kill, Kevin would be dead by the look on Webster and Mc's faces. Kevin tilted his head to looking into his wife's eyes. She smiled at him as she raised her arms and wrapped her fingers around his biceps. She was quaking as she held onto him and he doubted anyone was aware of it but him.

"I would have but I was afraid I would get bounced off the force or end up like her husband." Muriel's face turned to Kevin and Bron, "Her other husband I mean." The apologetic expression she wore couldn't be missed by either of them. "I need protection. This isn't just a turf war. It's escalated to a full out drug and mob war to the likes this city has never seen."

"You'll have it Muriel and more. I can almost assure you a promotion out of this. As a matter of fact, I will guarantee you a promotion out of this." Mc's voice commanded the woman's attention. The authority behind it wasn't escaping any of them.

Kevin didn't miss the little shiver that went up Bron's body. She dropped her head and focused on the floor. Evidentially that voice had been used before and it wasn't a good thing where his wife was concerned. Some days their history popped up at the most random times. She would have questions for Mc when this was done and over with. Kevin had questions for Mc. Just how far up on the ladder was he anyway to make a promise like that.

"You're a nobody." Muriel snorted as she locked eyes with Mc. "You're still a punk, just an older punk."

Mc reached into his pocket only to have Muriel reach for her firearm. Kevin shoved Bron behind him. Webster's gun was out of the holster first and pointed at his target, Muriel.

"Shit," Kevin pushed back forcing Bron to the wall he did so.

Mc slowly pulled a leather wallet from his coat pocket. He stretched his arm out to Muriel. Only two fingers held the billfold in the air. His free hand was in the air. Kevin watched her hesitate before she reached for it. Muriel never took her eyes off of Mc as she did. The barrel of her gun never moved off her target which was Mc's chest.

Muriel glanced down after flipping it open with one hand. She no more peeked at what it held. "How long?" she barked at Mc.

"Not long enough to make a difference for her first husband or her but long enough to make a difference to her with this one and the baby she's carrying." Mc's countenance didn't seem to match the words he had spoken. There was no softening or remorse in the grim expression he wore. Everyone stood stock-still. It seemed as if each one was afraid to move in case it would set someone's trigger finger off.

"Promotion?" Muriel folded the wallet closed.

"Muriel, you can be Captain of the South, if you want it. When Bron's case is done I'm quitting. I'm going back to Chicago." Webster entered the offer.

"He's not going to Chicago. His old lady dumped his ass, he's moving to Kentucky with us." Bron smiled a glowing smile as she came out from behind where Kevin had shoved her. Bron snorted and looked at Mc. "He can be the Godfather. Pardon the Pun."

Kevin tightened his grip on her after latching a hand onto her upper arm. "Bron, you can shut your mouth now." Kevin eyed the guns that had been drawn but still weren't back in the holsters.

"Can we put those away since we're not going to be using them?" Bron pushed the tip of Webster's gun away from Muriel.

"I don't want the precinct. I want Commander. If I get rid of some of them, I want rid of all of them." Muriel held the wallet out in the air.

"It's yours." Mc turned on his heel and unlocked the door. "We need to figure this out. Let's go find the people we need to get this done. We have to find a way to put him behind bars and you in your new job."

Mc held the door open and waited for all of them to exit.

"Mc if you screw this up-"

"Be quiet Kevin." Mc let the door slam. They followed Mc to the anteroom. Mc had his cell out of his Armani coat before the doors even closed and had gone in the other direction.

Kevin surveyed the room. The guard was absent that had been waiting with Bron and Kevin earlier.

"Where did he go?" Bron questioned Kevin.

"I dunno." Kevin surveyed the room.

"Who?" Webster glanced to Bron.

"The officer?" Bron's brows creased.

"She's right there." Webster pointed to Muriel.

"No the other guy that was in here with us," Kevin stood up suddenly nervous, he paced as he tried to remember what the guy looked like. "Tall guy, as tall as me. A little younger than me. He had Blondish-brown hair."

"There was no guy in here. The detail was pulled. I told you that." Webster shook his head at them.

"There was a guy in uniform in here with us just after the judge broke for lunch. I barfed in the garbage can. I got up to leave but it was like he wasn't going to let us go. Kevin muscled by him. We went out in the hall and I sat on the bench. Kevin went and found Muriel down the hall. She let me use the ladies room." Kevin watched Bron stand up and walk around the room. "Jesus, who the hell was that guy?" Bron mumbled.

"Well, he wasn't our guy." Webster drew his cell phone out. A loud rap was heard on the door. Webster's cell phone had been dropped to the table. The two armed people in the room drew there pistols as the door opened.

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