CHAPTER SEVEN

MAX COOK WAS ALWAYS CONFLICTED WATCHING HIS WIFE LEAVE FOR WORK.   IT NEVER MATTERED IF IT WAS DURING THE DAY OR DEAD OF NIGHT.   IT WAS THE GUN AT HER HIP, THE DETECTIVE SHIELD CLIPPED TO HER BELT, THE KEVLAR VEST HE HAD BOUGHT HER FOR CHRISTMAS LAST YEAR – ALL IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE LOVE SHE DISPLAYED PICKING THEIR THREE-YEAR-OLD SON OFF THE FLOOR TO GIVE HIM A KISS GOOD-BYE.

He was so proud of her.   Frightened for her.

Max leaned against the door in the foyer, giving her and Hayes as much space as they needed.   He felt the doorknob turning and turned to look through the glass to find Lincoln trying to open the door without knocking.

“Your work husband is here,” called Max to Gail as he opened the door for her partner.   Her reply came in the form of a glare as if to say We’ve talked about this.

“Uncle John!” shouted Hayes, seeming to bound from her embrace directly into John Lincoln’s arms half a room away.   Lincoln happily scooped up the boy.

“Say good night to Uncle John, Hayes.   Mommy has to go to work,” said Gail as she approached.

“Yeah, we have to shoot some bad guys,” Lincoln whispered conspiratorially to the young boy he placed Hayes back on the crowd.

“We hate bad guys!” Hayes exclaimed.

Gail knelt beside her son.  “Mommy’s job is not to shoot anyone.   Cops are here to….?”

“…Make things better!” said Hayes to his mother, who lifted him into the air in a hug, a reward for the right answer!   Behind her back, Lincoln and Hayes exchanged finger blasts.

“Now don’t give your father a hard time,” she said as she handed her son off to her husband.   She did it with a gentle swing that had the desired effect of nudging Lincoln out the door without so much as a See ya!

 “Loveyoubye.” She said as she delivered a kiss to the brows of Hayes and Max.

“Loveyoubye,” they echoed as she pulled the door closed behind her.