“It’s okay, Charlie. I’m an undercover cop, MPD. My name is Mike Foster.” His words were slow and sure.
His voice triggered a memory in my brain and then it hit me. It was the same voice as the one who had asked me last night if I was driving home.
“That Mike is sure a cutie.” Hanah had said last night, referring to Doyle’s cute bouncer as she had guided my drunken self out the door.
I slowly turned and looked up. It was him. He was the one I had seen at the court-house too! Of course. No wonder he was with all those cops. He must have seen me and didn’t want to take a chance on blowing his cover.
“Mike…” I murmured under my breath. “Right…”
He let me stand free for a moment as he put his gun away. I swayed a little and he grabbed my elbow to steady me.
“Hey, take it easy.” he said softly.
Quiet tears of relief started to stream down my cheeks and I started to shake. Shock and the freezing cold began taking their toll on me.
Mike pulled me a little nearer and tried to close up my coat, saying soft, comforting words as he fumbled with the buttons.
Then he stopped and took his hands and tenderly raised my face so he could look me in the eyes.
“Charlie. It’s all over. You’re safe now.” He spoke very slowly to be sure I understood.
But I was so cold. I couldn’t stop shivering and I couldn’t stop crying. I just stood there unable to speak or move.
Images I had seen too many times from crime scenes I’d covered the last couple of years were flashing thru my mind.
I knew how bad this could have been.
“So cold…” I managed to whisper.
Mike gently pulled me next to him. His jacket was open and he wrapped his arms and his jacket around me. I could hear sirens in the distance.
“Thank God I was still here,” he said, his voice ragged with emotion.
I sighed and sank into the strength and warmth of his body.
After a few minutes, my breathing slowed and I stopped shaking. But I didn’t want to leave the warmth of Mike’s arms. And he didn’t appear to be in any hurry to let me go.
I pulled back just a little, looked up and asked, “The rose?”
It was the first time I had ever seen Mike smile. He had a nice smile.