Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 8)

All day Wednesday, Lexie’s thoughts swung back and forth between the hope of forgiveness and thoughts of Bruce.  She found herself eagerly anticipating the next time she’d see Bruce, and her mind kept replaying his sweet kisses.  Yet she was afraid to dream of a future with him.  Could she really find forgiveness and move forward, leaving her past behind her?

She didn’t see Bruce Wednesday evening though.  Wednesday evening was quiet.  It was just her, Bo and Officer Watts, and the phone never rang.

Thursday was very similar to Wednesday, except that Thursday evening Lexie went over to Brad and Patty’s for dinner.  They had just sat down to dinner when the doorbell rang.  Brad went to the door and returned with Bruce.  It was obvious that Bruce was forcing pleasantries because he didn’t want to disturb dinner.  Patty quickly set a place for him across from Lexie.

Dinner conversation consisted of superficial small talk, and as soon as the dishes were cleared, Brad looked at Bruce and said, “What’s the problem?”

“We struck out with the phone records.  The calls to Lexie’s apartment weren’t made from Kurt Bigler’s apartment, so either he used a cell phone or he made the calls from another location.”

“So what now?”

“I have an idea, but you’re not going to like it.”

Brad’s gaze met Bruce’s as he waited for Bruce to continue.

“Tomorrow’s Friday.  He invited Lexie to come to his apartment.  I was thinking that we put a wire on her and she goes.  We’ll hear everything and bust through the door at the first sign of trouble.”

“Are you crazy?  Send Lexie back into the same apartment that Kevin lived in to meet some other psycho?  No way!  I won’t allow it!  That would cause her to relive the whole thing again, if not in every action, certainly, in her mind.”

“It would be a sure way of making an arrest that will stick.”

Brad had stood from the table upon hearing Bruce’s suggestion.  Now he began to pace back and forth.  He ran his hands through his hair.  No one spoke for several minutes and the air in the room was thick with tension.

Finally Brad spoke, “So this guy’s expecting her tomorrow night.  What if she doesn’t show?  He’ll probably call again, right?”

“Brad, he could call a million times and it wouldn’t lead to an arrest.  Not as long as he’s using a cell phone or calling from somewhere other than his apartment.  He’s smart.  He doesn’t stay on the line long enough for our tracer to pinpoint his location.”

“Yeah, but what if Lexie could get him to agree to meet her somewhere public?  She could still wear a wire and ask him questions that would get information that could lead to an arrest.”

Lexie’s fear-filled expression had been glued to Bruce, but now she turned it to Brad.

“Lexie, don’t worry.  I would never let anything happen to you.  Just hear me out.  I know you met Kevin at some college party, but didn’t the two of you go to a restaurant once or twice before you started going to his place?”

Lexie thought for a minute.  “Oh, yes.  We used to like to go to Finnigan’s.  It was like a real Irish Pub and the food was really good.”

“Do you know if Finnigan’s is still in business?”

“It is,” Bruce said, “Some of the police officers like to go there on Friday nights.”

“So Lexie sets up to meet him at Finnigans the next time he calls, and Patty and I will be there at a table nearby where I can keep an eye on Lexie, and you and your officers can be outside listening and either come in or arrest him on the way out.”

“Okay.  We’ll try your plan first, Brad.”

“Thank you.”

Bruce followed Lexie to her apartment.  Bo greeted them at the door, and Lexie grabbed his leash and they went for a walk.

“Are you okay with Brad’s plan?”

“It’s better than yours.  Did you really expect me to go into that apartment?”

“It was the only idea I could come up with.  I just want to get this guy.”

“Do you think this guy is a serial killer or just a wannabe?”

“I don’t think he’s a serial killer.  We don’t have any missing women with connections in their cases right now.  I think this guy studied Kevin and admires him.  I think he just started where Kevin left off — with you.  I don’t believe he’s made a kill yet, and maybe he doesn’t have the stomach for it, but if he does, you’re his first target, and I have no intention of giving him that opportunity.”

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