Whatever You Desire - Chapter 2

Whatever You Desire.jpg

Chapter Two – Day Two - Day Three - Day Four

The next day Julie stopped at the Starbucks near Police Plaza and purchased two venti roast-of-the-day coffees and a bag of mixed Danish pastries. She’d try a peace offering and see if she couldn’t change Tommy Lomax’s attitude just a little. She was early but Tommy was already in the interview room they had commandeered for the case. She had put the evidence boxes in a carryon suitcase for convenience so she could wheel them around. Tommy didn’t look up when she entered the room nor did he offer to help her to juggle the evidence boxes or the coffee.

“I got black, there’s sweetener and cream in the bag if you need it; Danish too,” Julie put the sack of Danish on the desk and held out the venti to Tommy who got up from behind the laptop where he’d been working.

“Careful, it’s hot,” she said when Tommy took the coffee from her.

He lifted the lid and inspected the contents.

“You shouldn’t have,” Tommy said; a conciliatory tone in his voice and Julie gave him a wry smile.

“No I mean it. You shouldn’t have,” Tommy hawked up phlegm and spat in the coffee.

He put the lid back on the coffee and dropped it in the trash.

Julie’s smile disappeared. At least she knew where she stood with him. Nothing had changed.

“Make that coffee to go; we’re off to the morgue,” Tommy took his jacket from the seatback and put it on.

He scooped up the bag of Danish and threw it in the trash next to coffee she’d bought him. Julie just sighed and followed him to the city car. The lingering hint of Old Spice, cigarette smoke, fast-food and Jack Shepard’s farts had dissipated little overnight but Julie knew better than to open the window. Tommy still a found a way to torment her though. Every time she tried to take a sip of coffee he’d brake, causing her head to jerk. If the coffee didn’t have a lid it she would have scalded herself.

The childish prank got the better of her and she put the coffee in the cup holder in the console and left it undrunk

“Do you want to know what I found in the missing person’s files and the surveillance video?” Julie broke the silence.

“Amaze me,” Tommy said.

“The missing person’s files refer to Steven de Lorraine as a twenty year old college student and the pictures in the files were taken a few years before he went missing. Everyone would have been looking for a twenty-year old man not a young woman,” Julie began.

“So what?” Tommy gritted his teeth.

“Stephanie Carter was a nearly fully transitioned woman when we found her so I’d assume that Steven de Lorraine was likely presenting as feminine or at least androgynous when he went missing,” Julie took a breath.

“Despite what you think, young men don’t just wake up one day, put on nylons and lipstick and start calling themselves a lady. I’d guess that Stephanie Carter’s gender dysphoria would have been known to her parents. Even if Steven de Lorraine was publicly presenting as male you can bet he was dressing feminine out of the public eye,” Julie stated.

She could see the look of disgust and confusion on Tommy’s face.

“Maybe that’s why he cleaned out his savings and ran away. His parents couldn’t come to terms with his gender issues so Steven takes the money and begins to live as Stephanie. No one is looking for a young woman, they’re still looking for Steven,” Julie continued.

Tommy nodded. He had to concede that what Julie was saying was likely the truth.

“The driver’s licence that was found at the scene belonging to Stephanie Carter was a forgery but a good forgery. She had help,” Tommy added, surprising Julie by actually discussing the case with her rather than telling her to shut up or giving her busy work.

“Maybe her pimp?” Tommy speculated.

At least Tommy wasn’t misgendering Stephanie and Julie was tempted to tell him what she knew about Fleur de Lis but she wasn’t ready yet. She’d have to tell him how she came across the information and that would be difficult.

“You know what to do when we get to the morgue,” Tommy reverted to his surly self.

“Just observe, take notes and keep my trap shut,” Julie repeated Tommy’s instructions.

“And the security videos?” Tommy asked.

“Probably useless. By some coincidence the camera in the hallway on the floor of Stephanie's apartment wasn’t working and I don’t like coincidences. The footage from the lobby shows a procession of residents and visitors coming and going from the building on the day of the murder but unless we find a suspect to compare it to it’s not much use to us,” Julie read from her notebook.

“The uniforms who did the door-to-door interviewing Stephanie’s neighbours report that Stephanie kept to herself. She did however seem to have a lot of visitors, mostly men, some couples, often leaving in the early hours of the morning. No one heard anything untoward on the day she was murdered,” Julie closed her notebook.

Tommy just grunted and turned into Camden City Community Hospital and parked in a spot reserved for doctors. He put a ‘Police Business’ sign on the dashboard and Julie followed him into the hospital where they took the elevator down into the morgue.

The elevator ride was only two floors but the elevator was slow and Tommy got talkative.

“So you and Gail had a thing goin’ in New York City a while back?” Tommy blurted out.

This was the conversation that Julie was dreading.

“I always wondered why that chick never succumbed to my charms then she tells me she’s a lesbian and that you and her used to fuck,” Tommy continued

Julie refused to be drawn into the conversation. Now she knew what Gail and Tommy were talking about when they were alone in Stephanie Carter’s bedroom.

“So you alphabet people; you got like a radar or something so you can sniff each other out?” Tommy continued to goad her.

Julie grinned not only at the mixed metaphor but also because ‘Gaydar’ was in fact an LGBTI dating site.

“But is Gail technically a lesbian if you’ve still got a cock? Because I thought lezzies were only into carpet munching you know. So if Gail is still keen for cock maybe I still got a chance. Maybe mine’s bigger?” Tommy grinned.

When Julie didn’t rise to the bait Tommy let it go and then thankfully the doors opened.

Hector ‘Doc’ Freeman and Gail Johnson were dressed in protective clothing standing over Stephanie Carter’s nude body. Stephanie was ghostly pale. Her makeup had been wiped away when the body was cleaned but she was still an attractive woman even in death. Except for her genitalia it would have been impossible to guess that she once been a young man. The Y-shaped incision in her body had been stitched shut.

“We’ve run some of the trace evidence and bloodwork through the lab. Her clothing has been processed, catalogued and bagged. Gail will sign it into the evidence room at Police Plaza to maintain chain of custody,” Doc began without any preliminary small talk.

“Stephanie Carter had traces of cocaine, MDMA and alcohol in her system but not enough to incapacitate her. I’d say she was a frequent user but was relatively sober at the time of her death,” Doc read from a sheet of paper on a clipboard.

“She also tested positive for Rohypnol in a quantity that would likely have put her in trancelike state. She would have been conscious but not responsive,” Doc continued to read from the clipboard.

“There was semen from two different men in her anus and her own semen was found in her panties. She ejaculated just prior to or at the time of death,” Doc said dispassionately but Tommy screwed up his face.

“Cause of death was exsanguination due to the wound inflicted on her throat. As was presumed at the crime scene, there is no evidence of a struggle or defence wounds. She is slightly underweight for a person of her age and her stomach was almost empty except for alcohol and sperm,” Doc said dispassionately and once again Tommy screwed his face up.

“She has fine scars associated with facial feminisation surgery, breast augmentation and a tracheal shave and she was taking a regimen of female hormones,” Doc flipped through the pages on the clipboard and looked up at Tommy expecting questions.

Julie saw the fine silvery scars on the underside of Stephanie's perfect breasts. Julie had similar scars herself and then she subconsciously rubbed at the faint scars on her wrists.

“So, what do we have that’s useful?” Tommy looked from Doc to Gail and back again.

Gail took a deep breath and began.

“There are no signs of break and enter nor signs of struggle. I proffer that Stephanie let her killer or killers into her apartment with the intention to have consensual sex. The semen found in her body and her underwear confirms that she’d had anal and oral sex within twenty-four hours of being killed. The two samples from her anus are being processed for a DNA match but the sample from her stomach is corrupted by her digestive juices,” Gail directed her response to Tommy.

“She was killed sometime between midnight and four in the morning by a single knife wound to the throat and given the quantity of Rohypnol in her system she was likely in a vegetative state and unable to fight back. Her mobile phone is missing, there was no computer found in the apartment so she either didn’t have one or it was taken too. She doesn’t have a vehicle registered under either identity but we’re continuing to search the apartment block parking garage,” Gail continued.

“There was only one glass found at the scene which has Stephanie's prints and lipstick on it and traces of Rohypnol. The killer took the second glass with him. There is a glass missing from the set of six and the rings on the countertop suggest a second glass was used and the wine bottle was nearly empty,” Gail looked up at Tommy who just nodded.

“Even though the apartment was scrupulously clean there are prints from at least thirty people in the apartment but specific areas have been wiped clean with alcohol including the door handles. Except for the semen, even if it is his, the killer left no trace evidence behind and the cut to her throat was precise, almost clinical. The killer knew what he was doing,” Gail finished her summation.

“Sex, drugs and money. The john or pimp she’d ripped off came to her apartment, drugged her, fucked her, and killed her, wiped down any surfaces he had touched and took with him anything that might incriminate him,” Tommy surmised.

“Why was she posed?” Julie blurted out and Tommy’s eyes flashed at her.

“As a warning to the other hookers. Don’t steal my money or my drugs,” Tommy snapped.

“What about the Fleur de Lis card? Was it hers or the killer’s?” Julie wouldn’t be silenced.

“Stephanie’s fingerprints were on the card. The phone number on the back of the card belongs to a burner and is unregistered. I’ll leave Tommy to call the number and see who answers. He likes to be in charge,” Gail gave Tommy a cheeky smile.

“Send the reports and findings through to Detective Sanderson,” Tommy nodded at Julie dismissively.

“Let me know if you find anything else of significance. I have an appointment with Senator de Lorraine and his wife that I’m not looking forward to,” Tommy ushered them both out of the morgue back to the elevator.

“You still don’t want to believe that it was her pimp or john that killed her,” Tommy sighed.

“It’s too clinical and she was posed. If it was her pimp, if there is one, or a john, I’d expect it to be a crime of passion. Why drug a girl who is going to let you fuck her anyway?” Julie replied.

“And what about the Fleur de Lis card? What’s the significance of that?” Julie asked, not expecting a reply.

“We’ll interview the senator and his wife and then I’ll consider what to do about that telephone number. You wanna stop for coffee on the way?” Tommy chuckled and Julie felt her stomach roil.

*****

Senator Raymond de Lorraine and his wife Judith lived in a mansion surrounded by well-tended gardens bordering a tennis court and a swimming pool. The house was set back from the road and walled and gated. Tommy had to flash his badge and speak into an intercom to gain access. He parked the city car on the pristine raked pea-gravelled circular driveway.

Tommy didn’t need to reiterate his warning about keeping her mouth shut to Julie, he just gave her a withering look that substituted for the verbal warning.

Tommy and Julie were ushered into a sitting room where the senator and his wife were sitting side by side in winged white leather chairs. A two seater sofa was positioned across from them with a silver coffee service set on a walnut coffee table between the seats and the sofa.

Tommy and Julie were led to the sofa by the valet who retired and closed the double doors behind him. Tommy was uncomfortable sitting so close to Julie that their thighs were nearly touching. Today she was wearing a navy-blue pantsuit and low heels so at least there was no flesh to contact.

The senator was wearing a dark business suit with a white shirt, striped tie and polished brogues. His hair was perfect and he looked like a caricature of himself in his election posters and pamphlets. Judith de Lorraine was wearing a bone skirt suit and mauve blouse, sheer tan nylons and white heels. She was stick-thin and her grey hair was coiffed; her makeup was perfect. The couple looked like they were ready to give a television interview rather than to be questioned by detectives.

“First, please let me say how sorry I am for your loss,” Tommy began.

“Steven has been missing for over a year so we would be lying if we didn’t think it was a distinct possibility that he was dead,” Raymond de Lorraine responded.

Julie felt herself tense up. So this is how it was going to be. Stephanie Carter was going to be misgendered by her parents who were in denial about their son’s transition.

“You are aware of the circumstances surrounding how we found Steven,” Tommy decided that it was no use getting into an argument regarding Stephanie Carter’s gender at the time of her death.

“Yes and it was awful but I think we lost our son long before he disappeared,” Raymond said while his wife began to pour coffee.

“In high school he started dressing and behaving differently and hanging around with a bad crowd. We figured it was just a phase he was going through, you know wanting to be a Goth or something. He grew his hair out, wore makeup, black clothing, even tights and skirts sometimes,” the senator explained.

“Then we found a collection of girls’ clothing and pictures of him dressed as a girl on his computer,” the senator continued.

Julie remembered how mortified she was when her parents found her stash and confronted her when she was only thirteen.

“We put him in a male-only private boarding school where there was discipline and a curricula pertaining to men’s studies and an emphasis on outdoor and sporting activities and we thought that he’d gotten over it,” the senator passed a cup to Tommy and Judith passed one to Julie.

“He was fine when he first started college but then his abhorrent tendencies resurfaced. His grades dropped, his attendance became sporadic and he turned up for classes wearing makeup, and androgynous clothing. I hired a private investigator who found that Steven was living as a girl nearly full-time and even worse he was hanging around with others who shared the same aberration,” Raymond visibly shuddered and his wife issued a sob.

“If my political opponents found out about it I would have been ruined,” the senator sipped his coffee as if he was telling a fictional tale rather than telling the tragedy that was his child’s life.

Julie fought hard to keep her emotions in check and once again thanked god that she’d had such understanding parents.

Tommy sipped his coffee and nodded sagely. Julie had to put her coffee down because her hand was beginning to shake with anger.

“I told Steven that I was going to stop paying tuition fees and close out his bank account if he didn’t straighten up and fly right. My investigator found a place that discreetly conducts conversion therapy. We were going to give Steven the option of undertaking the therapy of his own free will or I was going to have my investigator arrange for an intervention,” the senator frowned.

Julie knew that the scientific consensus is that conversion therapy is ineffective and when it fails to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, participants often feel increased shame that they already felt over their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“What do you mean by intervention?” Tommy asked.

The senator looked at his wife briefly before answering.

“We were going to have Steven taken forcefully to the conversion therapy facility,” Raymond de Lorraine said stoically.

“If we knew about all this when we were working on your son’s missing person case we would have handled things a lot differently,” Tommy said as gently as he could.

“We would have investigated the kind of places where people like that tend to congregate. The pictures you provided us to give to the press and print on the missing persons posters showed Steven presenting as a man,” Tommy explained.

“He is a man!” Raymond de Lorraine yelled and thumped his fist on the table.

“Stop it Raymond; stop it!” Judith de Lorraine began to sob.

Her shoulders shook and her cries of anguish were heart-breaking.

Tommy dug his elbow into Julie’s ribs and she took the cue and extended her hand across the table and took Judith’s hand in her hers.

“You don’t understand,” Judith de Larraine sniffled.

“I understand very well,” Julie whispered stroking Judith de Lorraine’s hand.

Judith looked at Julie suspiciously then her look turned to anger and she recoiled and snatched back her hand.

“You're one of them, aren’t you?” Judith hissed.

“You vile creature!” she looked at Julie with absolute hatred.

“Let me tell you something. When we get Steven’s body back from the coroner I’m having his hair cut short, I’m having those plastic tits ripped out of his chest and I’m burying him in a tuxedo. His name is Steven de Lorraine and that will be the name on his gravestone,” Judith hissed.

“Get out! Get out of this room and never come back!” Judith unleashed her fury at Julie.

The manservant entered the room and politely led Julie out of the sitting room and sat her in the entranceway next to the door.

“I was running for election while Steven was carrying on that way in college. The party would have dropped me from the ticket if it came to light what Steven was up to. It could be worse for me now if it came out that my son was some sort of transvestite prostitute. You understand what I’m saying here detective?” Senator Raymond de Lorraine glared at Tommy.

“Senator Graham Milburn is coming after me because I’m next in line for party whip. He’s trying to poison my reputation with the party because he wants the job. Politics can be vicious and playing dirty is all part of the game. It would be best if my private life remained private,” Raymond took Judith’s hand in his and squeezed it lightly, to emphasise that the couple were in agreement.

“If you want a career in the Camden Police Department or anywhere else in this state you better keep a lid on this,” the senator growled.

“I have been instructed to use the utmost discretion Senator. This case is being handled with extreme delicacy,” Tommy replied.

“Thank you. When you put my son’s killer behind bars without any fanfare or public debacle you will find that I can be more than generous. It might be more convenient if the killer is never actually arrested. My understanding is that felons often meet their demise if they try to evade arrest of if they are armed and dangerous,” the senator raised his brows knowingly.

Tommy just nodded sagely but said nothing.

“What about the thing in the pantsuit?” Judith de Lorraine nodded towards the door.

“Detective Sanderson is working for me solely in an advisory capacity. You understand that she has knowledge on how these people operate and how they think. She knows to keep her mouth shut and she will return to New York as soon as the case is closed,” Tommy said, the lie sticking in his throat.

“You called Detective Sanderson she,” Judith de Lorraine glared at Tommy.

“Only as a matter of convenience Mrs de Lorraine,” Tommy said sagely.

Tommy stood and nodded at the senator and his wife and left the room.

“Let’s get out of here before I throw up my breakfast,” Tommy pushed Julie through the door towards the car.

“You saw the denial there Tommy. If they had treated Stephanie with a modicum of love and respect, this might never have happened,” Julie said.

“Fuck their respect. I get it that they're angry that their fucked up son wanted to become a girl; I have no problem with that but they lied to police and that asshole offered me a bribe,” Tommy slammed the car door closed and reached for his seatbelt.

“Mrs de Lorraine liked your pantsuit by the way but I prefer it when you show a bit of leg,” Tommy quipped and Julie couldn’t help a wry smile.

They stopped for coffee at the Starbucks on the way back to Police Plaza. Julie brought the coffees over to a small table in the corner away from the other customers.

“You want it with or without the spit?” Julie held out Tommy’s coffee.

“I make the jokes and I’m sorry about this morning,” Tommy said begrudgingly.

Julie sat across from him and Tommy studied her closely.

“What are you looking at?” Julie blushed.

“No one would ever know, would they?” Tommy mused.

“Know what?” Julie frowned.

“At least half a dozen guys checked you out when you walked in here with me,” Tommy said and Julie blushed for the second time that day.

“I’m five ten in my low heels. I stick out because I’m a tall woman. People stare at me all the time,” Julie replied.

“Yeah but it’s not just that. That guy over there hasn’t taken his eyes off your ass since you walked in,” Tommy nodded at a man pretending to read his newspaper.

“We call it being clocked. That’s when someone suspects that you're a transgender woman. I don’t hide the fact that I am but I don’t advertise it either,” Julie took a sip of her coffee.

“No one here has clocked you. They're checking you out because you’re a good looking woman,” Tommy shrugged.

“I’m waiting for the insult,” Julie said dryly.

“Listening to the senator and his wife got me thinking. You have to put up with that a lot don’t you?” Tommy said.

“Ok. Mostly I don’t because except for my height I’m pretty unclockable. It’s when people find out that I’m trans that their prejudice shows through. You can imagine what I went through at the academy?” Julie replied.

Tommy nodded sagely. The police academy was hell on all the rookies especially women. Julie would have copped it worse than anyone.

“And then there are the tranny chasers. Some men think because you're trans you're promiscuous. They wonder what it would be like to fuck a trans woman but there is no way they're going to date you,” Julie said dispassionately.

“What about Gail?” Tommy raised his brows.

Julie sighed. She might as well get it out in the open.

“We were lovers. We shared an apartment. She wanted commitment, a relationship… and I didn’t so we broke up. She moved to Camden when a better job came up here and I stayed in New York,” Julie said soberly.

“So… you never considered…” Tommy formed his fingers into scissors and imitated a cutting motion.

“Now you are getting really personal Detective Lomax,” Julie stirred her coffee.

“Where to now boss?” Julie broke the awkward silence.

“Let’s see what happens when I dial that number on the back of the card,” Tommy said.

As it turned out, Tommy didn’t get to dial the number that day. They ran into Jack Shepard back at Police Plaza. He was coming out of the temporary office that supposedly only Tommy and Julie had access to.

“What’s going on Jack? You know this case is close-hold,” Tommy asked.

“Just looking at what you have Tommy. You know. Fresh set of eyes and all that,” Jack made light of the matter and changed the subject.

“How’s the tranny cooze working out Tommy? You have to rap her on the nose with a newspaper to keep her from sucking dicks in the parking lot?” Jack looked at Julie with disdain and thought he was hilarious.

“Don’t be like that Jackie boy. You know she got foisted on me by the captain, I didn’t bench you,” Tommy wouldn’t be seen defending Julie Sanderson but he wouldn’t have Jack continue to disrespect her either.

“Why don’t you type up our notes from the interview with the de Lorraines and see if the autopsy and trace evidence reports have come in,” Tommy ushered Julie into their temporary office as much to get her away from Jack Shepard as anything else.

“Tell me what you got Tommy,” Jack dragged Tommy into the adjoining interview room.

“You know this case is close-hold Jack. I’m not supposed to discuss it with anyone,” Tommy grumbled.

“I was in at the start Tommy, just let me know where you're at with it. When are we going to be able to partner up again?” Jack whined.

Tommy relented and gave Jack the down low on the case and then he was summoned to the captain’s office to update him.

When Tommy returned to the office Julie was affixing some evidence to the crime wall, standing on her tiptoes to blu-tac crime scene pictures next to the picture of Stephanie Carter and Steven de Lorraine. Her pants were stretched tight across her buttocks and Tommy realised why the guy in the coffee shop was staring at Julie’s ass. It was a fine ass.

“You're not sharing information about our case with Jack Shepard are you Tommy?” Julie said with her back to Tommy.

“You know I wouldn’t do that Detective Sanderson and just because we shared a cup of coffee doesn’t make us buddies,” Tommy said gruffly.

Julie was used to this. Colleagues would be open and friendly with her when they were alone but as soon as they were in the company of others or in the workplace they treated her like a pariah.

“We have just about everything from the autopsy and most of the trace evidence has been processed. I’ve asked for the DNA to be fast-tracked because it’s our most compelling evidence if there’s a match,” Julie said evenly.

“Not that it will be conclusive if we do get a match. We’re almost certain that Stephanie Carter was working as a prostitute so the sperm samples in her body may not have been deposited by her killer,” Tommy looked up at the crime board.

“But it will lead us to whoever was with her on the day she was killed,” Tommy added.

“Stephanie Carter’s stomach was devoid of food. She would have douched before engaging in sexual activity so the sperm samples were reasonably fresh. There were samples from two different men in her anus. The sample in her stomach was too adulterated by her stomach acids to be useful and may have come from one of the other secretors anyway,” Julie tapped her pen against her teeth as she studied the crime board.

“Doc said that her own sperm was present in her panties. Is that usual?” Tommy blushed when he asked the question.

“What I mean is, if she was raped it is unlikely that she would have ejaculated right?” Tommy’s pink blush turned bright red.

“Involuntary erections or ejaculations can occur in the context of non-consensual anal sex. Erections and ejaculations are only partially under voluntary control and are known to occur during times of extreme duress. Also, she was under the influence of Rohypnol,” Julie replied.

“You know a lot about this stuff,” Tommy said carefully.

“You can imagine the type of cases that I’m assigned to. Back home almost any crime involving sexual assault on a trans woman is tossed my way,” Julie visibly stiffened and unconsciously fingered the scars on her wrist.

“Homework?” Julie changed the subject.

“Study the autopsy and trace evidence reports. See if they can help us put together a timeline. That’s our task for tomorrow,” Tommy began to pack up and Julie did the same.

She signed out the laptop on which the reports were stored. Given the delicacy of the case, chain of custody was tight. Tommy locked up the interview room behind them. Their farewells were brief and cursory.

On the drive back to her hotel in her rental car Julie pondered the day’s events. Tommy was no longer being outright vindictive towards her and they were starting to work as a team. Julie didn’t flatter herself that she had made Tommy any less prejudiced against transgender women, he had just come to realise that Julie’s insights were helpful.

Back at the Grand Hotel she toyed with her phone, considering whether to use her escort service app to summon the urban cowboy to her room but given all she had been through today she wasn’t in the mood.

She laid out the evidence and opened the laptop ready to work through the night. She showered and changed into her silk pyjamas, poured herself a glass of wine and was studying the room service menu when there was a knock on her door.

Julie looked through the peephole and was surprised to see Gail Johnson outside her room.

“You know they have these devices now you can use to call people rather than dropping by unannounced,” Julie said flippantly, turning her back on Gail and walked back into her hotel room.

“I have more crime scene evidence for you,” Gail waved a slim file and followed Julie into the room.

“And it couldn’t wait until tomorrow or you couldn’t give it to Tommy?” Julie sat down and took a sip of her wine.

She didn’t invite Gail to sit.

“So it’s Tommy now; not Detective Lomax,” Gail looked around the hotel room.

“Yeah, he’s actually been a little cordial today. You find what you're looking for? Want to go into the bedroom and see if I have a man hiding under the bed?” Julie waved a hand at the bedroom door.

“Or a woman, you have eclectic tastes,” Gail dropped the file on the countertop in the little kitchenette and poured herself a glass of wine.

“No one invited you to stay. You look like you're ready to hit the town anyway,” Julie flashed her green eyes at Gail.

Gail was wearing a little black cocktail dress and high heels. Her nylons were so sheer that they were almost transparent. Her makeup was heavy, her lipstick bright red and the bangs of her short black bob were cut evenly across her eyebrows. She looked like a little pixie dressed in black. An evil little pixie.

“Wanna come? We can go hunting for men,” Gail licked the rim of her glass.

During their tumultuous relationship they sometimes went out together to pick-up bars and rubbed against each other and smooched: the tall elegant trans woman and the pretty little lesbian. They’d have men falling all over them and they would pick some hunk and bring him home and have a wild threesome.

Gail would watch the hunk fuck Julie and then she’d take her turn but she wouldn’t let the guy fuck her. Everything but. Gail liked extreme sex but her vagina was reserved for Julie. Julie would watch the guy eating Gail’s pussy while she suckled him but as soon as the guy tried to fuck Gail she would direct his cock towards Julie’s willing ass.

They were wild times but then Gail had spoiled it all by telling Julie that she loved her and wanted to be exclusive. Julie could live without the wild threesomes but she wasn’t interested in settling down, especially with Gail. Gail had become clingy and sentimental and even raised the spectre of marriage. Gail told Julie that it would even be possible for them to have children and Julie was horrified.

The breakup was messy and the gossip was wild. A transgender woman detective and lesbian CSI living together fuelled plenty of water cooler speculation amongst their female colleagues and sexual fantasies among the men. Their breakup became public knowledge because Gail kept breaking down at work.

When Gail accepted a transfer to the Camden PD Julie was relived and entered self-imposed celibacy until she found the discreet escort service that catered to her needs.

“Ok. You’ve delivered your evidence. Finish your wine and leave,” Julie picked up the room service menu.

“Dining alone? Not expecting company? What a boring evening you have ahead of you. Love the pyjamas by the way, whatever happened to the lacy babydoll pyjamas you used to wear to bed with me?” Gail sat down next to Julie uninvited.

“Come on Gail. I didn’t ask for this assignment. Can’t we just behave like professionals?” Julie sighed.

“I don’t want us to behave like professionals. You know I never really got over you,” Gail swallowed half of her wine in one gulp.

“You had to tell Tommy about us didn’t you,” Julie said angrily.

“You got the hots for Tommy? Forget it. He’d put his cock in a meat grinder before he’d put it in you,” Gail snapped.

“Of course I don’t have the hots for Tommy. He’s a transphobic asshole,” Julie regretted taking the bait.

“I have a girlfriend. We live together and we’re thinking of settling down. She’s a flight attendant for Delta,” Gail said almost triumphantly.

“I’m happy for you Gail, now I think you should go,” Julie stood up and held out her hand to take Gail’s wineglass.

Gail held onto her glass but she got to her feet unsteadily and Julie realised that Gail was drunk.

“Come on. Go home,” Julie snatched the wineglass from Gail’s grip and helped her towards the door.

“I don’t wanna go home. Sally’s away and I'm lonely,” Gail whined.

Julie couldn’t help letting out a little laugh. Sally the flight attendant… how fucking Gail was that!

“Don’t you laugh at me, you bitch!” Gail tried to slap Julie’s face but she stumbled against the wall and Julie caught her before she fell to the floor.

Gail took the opportunity to put her arms around Julie and forced a kiss on her.

“Come on Julie, just for old time’s sake,” Gail put a fumbling hand inside Julie’s pyjama bottoms.

Julie’s cock was unfettered in her boy leg panties and Gail's fingers found it. Gail pressed her lips against Julie’s and slipped her tongue into her mouth and pressed her body against her, wrapping a calf around her salaciously.

Gail tasted of wine and cigarettes. She only smoked when she was drunk or angry and Gail was obviously both.

“Come on girl, give it up for your old girlfriend,” Gail stroked Julie’s penis just the way she knew Julie liked having it stroked.

“You fucking bitch,” Julie gasped and crushed her lips against Gail's.

“You looking for a sympathy fuck, well here it comes,” Julie’s anger had been channelled into lust.

She picked Gail up and carried her to the bedroom and dropped her unceremoniously on the bed.

Gail’s short skirt rode up her thighs revealing that she wasn’t wearing panties. Her shaved sex was visible through her gauzy transparent pantyhose, her coral pink labia extruded through the fleshy outer lips of her pudenda and dewy beads of Gail’s vaginal secretions glistened like little pearls tucked the in folds of a succulent oyster.

Julie could actually smell Gail’s cunt.

It had always excited Julie when Gail became so licentiously excited, usually in anticipation of sex with some handsome stranger she and Gail had picked up in some seedy bar. But tonight Julie’s lust was fuelled by contempt. Gail had come to Julie’s hotel room wanting what? To rekindle their relationship? To rub her vapid flight attendant girlfriend in Julie’s face and make her jealous? Or did she just want a drunken grudge fuck?

She was getting the latter whether she wanted it or not.

Julie sprang onto the bed and Gail opened her arms expecting Julie to fall into them but Julie pushed Gail’s legs open wide and tore out the crotch of Gail’s pantyhose with her teeth.

“Oh my god you bitch!” Gail gasped as Julie’s mouth closed over her sex.

Julie pushed her tongue into the folds of Gail’s sex and lapped up the glistening secretions and found Gail’s clitoris nestled in her clitoral hood. She sucked the little protuberance into her mouth and thrummed the tip of her tongue on the delicate little bud and Gail began to thrash and mewl as Julie expertly induced Gail’s orgasm.

Gail’s climax had always been easy to trigger and Julie smiled wickedly around the fleshy parts of Gail’s pubis as Gail screamed obscenities and entwined her fingers in Julie’s hair and pushed Julie’s face into her cunt as waves of delight radiated from her sodden sex. Gail’s cunt tasted sweet, with a just a tinge of bitterness. The smell of her cunny-juice and vaginal deodorant mingled with her exotic perfume.

Julie was rampant. Her cock engorged with lust and anger.

She climbed up Gail’s body like a panther clawing its way up the body of a fallen prey. Julie smashed her mouth against Gail’s red lips and thrust her throbbing penis into the sodden maw of Gail’s vagina. Gail’s cunt seemed to welcome Julie’s penis inside her like a lost limb. Her labia opened like the petals of a flower and closed around the base of Julie’s shaft as Gail’s steamy vaginal walls enveloped Julie’s phallus like a tight, fleshy sheath.

Julie pushed her tongue into Gail’s mouth and pinned her arms up behind her head and began to fuck her, each lunge a vicious attack on Gail’s delicate sex. Gail’s cries were muffled by Julie’s mouth but Julie knew that Gail was still climaxing from her oral attack on Gail’s clitoris and she was now riding another wave of orgasmic rapture.

“Fuck me you bitch!” Gail’s head rolled from side to side on the pillows as she rose up to meet Julie’s plunging rod.

Gail locked her legs around Julie’s waist and writhed underneath her. Gail grunted every time Julie slammed her cock into her bruised cleft.

Julie could feel Gail’s vagina clutching at her throbbing, swollen appendage, compressing her warm spongy channel around Julie’s cock attempting to express Julie’s essence deep into her clunge. It was this neediness that so enamoured Julie in the bedroom and repelled her when they discussed their relationship. It always felt Gail wanted to own Julie.

Julie glared into Gail’s glazed deep blue eyes. There was no love, only lust and anger and Gail smiled up at her.

“There’s the cunt I knew and loved,” Gail goaded her.

Julie slammed her cock into Gail so hard that it almost winded her but Gail still smiled up at her and raked her heels along Julie’s flanks, encouraging her, goading her, deliberately antagonising her.

Julie put her hands under Gail’s armpits and gripped her shoulders, holding her like a fuck-toy as she slammed her cock in and out of Gail’s tight snatch. The room reeked of sex and the walls reverberated with grunts, groans and squeals as the two women fucked each other viciously.

Gail let out a withering moan like a wounded animal in its death throes as the almost perpetual orgasm she had been enduring peaked. Julie felt Gail’s cunt clasp at her juddering, turgescent member, expressing Julie’s essence. Julie’s scrotum contracted and her testes roiled as she pinned Gail to the bed and drove herself all the way inside Gail and filled her with scalding semen.

Julie closed her eyes and ground her pubis into Gail’s clunge, oblivious to Gail’s shrieks and moans. She didn’t feel Gail’s nails raking her back or her heel’s stabbing her sides or Gail’s body shaking under her. All she felt was her bloated phallus finding relief as Gail’s cunt clenched at it, milking it, draining Julie of her creamy efflux.

Gail lay under Julie panting, trying to control her ragged breathing. Her makeup was ruined, her dress sodden with sweat, her hose torn and laddered, her body aching and bruised in some places and her cunt so raw that she hissed when Julie extracted her swollen appendage.

“There’s your grudge fuck now fuck off back to Sally the trolley dolly and don’t come back here,” Julie pushed her deflating penis inside her pyjama bottoms and half dragged Gail off the bed.

Gail got to her feet unsteadily. She had lost a high heel during the melee and she snatched it off the bed and almost fell over as she tried to put it on while standing one-legged like a drunken flamingo. She pulled down her dress to cover her bruised and battered pudenda feeling Julie’s semen leaking out of her vagina and soaking into her snagged pantyhose.

Julie took Gail by the wrist and gathered her purse off the kitchen counter and pushed it into her chest as she bundled her to the door.

“You're pathetic Gail. Get on with your life and forget about me. Forget about us. This is the last time you play your mind games with me,” Julie opened the door to her hotel room.

“Sally and I are going to have a baby. She loves me and I love her,” Gail sniped.

Gail wasn't as drunk as she was when she arrived but she was far from sober.

“I hope you have wonderful life together,” Julie pushed Gail out the door and closed it softly, resisting the urge to slam it shut.

“Fucking evil little pixie,” Julie hissed as she headed for the shower.

Day Three

Julie’s phone began to bark and she reached for it on the nightstand and looked at the time. It was early. The grudge-sex with Gail, the wine and busywork meant she hadn't gone to sleep until the early hours, which she was used to, but she wouldn’t mind another hour or so sleep.

“You get the papers delivered to your room?” Tommy said without any ceremony.

“Sure,” Julie yawned and swung her long legs out of bed.

“Check out the Times political pages then call me back,” Tommy hung up on her.

Julie padded barefoot to the door, stopping briefly to put a coffee pod in the machine and turn it on. One copy of the New York Times and one copy of the local rag had been left outside her door by the night concierge. Julie picked them up and took them to the kitchenette where she poured espresso and took a sip.

Julie wrestled with the broadsheet until she found the political commentary section. There was a small column on page three below the fold under the headline:

WHAT IS SENATOR DE LORRAINE HIDING?

Senator Graham Milburn has accused Senator Raymond de Lorraine of hiding the truth about his missing son. Twenty year old Steven de Lorraine was reported missing just over a year ago and at first there was speculation that the Senator’s son had been kidnapped. Steven de Lorraine was attending Camden University at the time of his disappearance.

Tragically, this reporter has learned that the missing person’s case has been closed as the result of Steven de Lorraine being found deceased. Camden PD has refused to comment claiming that it is policy not to comment on ongoing investigations. Senator Raymond de Lorraine and his wife Judith were interviewed by homicide detectives and there is speculation that Steven de Lorraine was murdered.

Senator Graham Milburn has accused Senator Raymond de Lorraine of hiding sensitive information regarding his son’s disappearance and death from the public because it is likely to affect his chances for selection as the majority whip and embarrass him politically. Senator Milburn and Senator de Lorraine have both been critical of each other in the past and the speculation raised by Senator Milburn is seen by Senator de Lorraine’s supporters as an underhanded attempt to smear Senator de Lorraine at a time when he and his wife should be consoled and allowed to grieve privately.

Julie snatched up her phone and returned Tommy’s call.

“What the fuck Tommy?” Julie gasped as she began to pull clothing out of the wardrobe haphazardly and lay it on the bed.

“Get your ass down here asap, the captain wants to see us and he isn’t happy,” Tommy hung up on her again.

She and Tommy endured a thirty minute tirade from Captain James McElroy the gist of which was that if he found out who was leaking information to Senator Milburn he would have their badge and lock them up and throw away the key.

“It wasn’t either of us Captain. The case is being kept close-hold but the leak might not have come from inside the PD. The coroner’s office, a nosy neighbour, someone who knew Stephanie Carter… the leak could have come from anywhere,” Tommy defended himself and his partner.

“Whoever leaked the murder didn’t give specifics as far as we know, the newspaper didn’t speculate exactly what Senator de Lorraine might be hiding,” Julie added and for once Tommy agreed with her.

“Get it solved Tommy and do it quick. And keep it tighter than a fish’s asshole. No one, I mean absolutely no one, except you me and her are to be privy to anything to do with this case,” the captain pointed his finger at Julie, sighed and waved them out of his office.

“What do we do now? We still don’t have a suspect,” Julie followed Tommy down to their makeshift office.

“Let’s try that number we found on the card. Tech Services still haven’t been able to find out where the burner was purchased or when it was last used. It’s the best lead we have at the moment while the DNA is being processed,” Tommy locked the door to their office behind him.

“What’s the strategy?” Julie asked.

“I don’t have one. We don’t know if the number belongs to Stephanie Carter's pimp, her dealer or a john. It might be the number of her fucking hairdresser for all we know,” Tommy speculated.

“I’ll try to be as vague and innocuous as possible when I make the call and see what happens,” Tommy said and Julie nodded.

Tommy looked at his notes and punched the number they had found on the back of the Fleur de Lis card into his phone.

“Here we go,” Tommy pressed the call icon and put the phone on speaker.

“Yes?” a male vice answered on the third ring.

“Hey, I got your number from Stephanie Carter. She told me you have good stuff,” Tommy tried to sound casual.

The phone went dead.

“Fuck!” Tommy hissed.

“What now?” Julie asked.

She was thinking that now was the time to tell Tommy what she knew about Fleur de Lis and take her lumps when he ragged on her about how she had obtained the information.

Tommy’s phone vibrated and he stabbed at the answer icon.

“I’ll text you an address. Be there at noon. Call me when you're there. Come alone and bring cash. One thousand dollars in small bills. Then you get the good stuff,” the man said in short staccato sentences and then he hung up.

Tommy and Julie looked at each other.

“Noon. We have time to brief a team for backup. Maybe SWAT?” Julie speculated.

“Nope. You heard what the captain said. It’s you and me,” Tommy gritted his teeth.

“Jesus Tommy, we don’t know what you’re walking into,” Julie whined.

“Then we better make sure we’re prepared. We have three hours,” Tommy stared at the phone.

It pinged and tommy picked it up and looked at the address on the screen.

“The warehouse district. Let’s find it on the map,” Tommy woke up the laptop and began to punch the address into the browser.

The address provided was a street in the warehouse district of Camden, intersected by rail lines and service roads leading to freight yards. It was surrounded by heavy industry and manufacturing. The area was also known to be a drug distribution nexus but as soon as the drug squad shut down one drug distribution centre, another popped up. No one was winning the war on drugs except for the criminals.

“We should have backup. We should at least have a team standing by,” Julie pleaded with Tommy.

“I’ll wear a vest and a wire. You’ll be my backup. If it’s just one guy I’ll see what he’s offering and make an arrest. If it’s more than one guy I’ll withdraw and we do it your way. I don’t want anyone else to know about this. If we cock it up we keep it under wraps,” Tommy said with determination in his voice.

They used the time as best they could. Tommy signed out two ballistic vests and they both carried backup pieces. Julie had opted for a skirt suit today, Tommy’s comment about seeing some leg might have played a subliminal part in that, but in reality she had snatched the first thing she found in her wardrobe. She wished she was wearing her pantsuit but there was no time to change which meant that she had to put her snub nose .38 backup weapon in her purse rather than strap it to her ankle.

Tommy took their mobile phones down to Tech Services and had Phantom software installed on their devices. The software allows undercover officers to covertly record and broadcast conversations using a smartphone app and remote hardware instead of a physical wire on the body.

Tommy spent some time with Julie explaining how it worked and then they checked their weapons and headed out with a plan that Julie thought was close to being half-assed but Tommy was determined to keep the sting close hold.

Julie knew that Tommy was hoping that they might break the case but she was concerned about the risk. They went back and forth about contingencies while Tommy drove to the warehouse district. He let Julie open her window so the stink of Jack’s old farts and cigarette smoke wasn’t as cloying.

“You ever think about getting this city car cleaned and detailed? It smells like a college boy’s dorm room,” Julie made small talk to try to break the tension they were both feeling.

“You been in many college boy’s dorms?” Tommy gave her a cheeky smile and she gave him a mew.

Julie noticed that Tommy was not averse to looking at her legs now and then but she still wished she was wearing her pantsuit.

At eleven fifty they pulled the city car over in a cul-de-sac at the address provided. They were surrounded by what looked like abandoned warehouses, some of them dilapidated. What concerned Julie was that there was only one escape route, the warehouses backed onto rail lines that were protected by a twelve foot chainlink fence topped with barbwire.

There were sightlines into their vehicle from any of the top floor windows of the warehouses but they only had a ground level view of the old buildings. It was the perfect place for an ambush. They both checked their weapons again ensuring they each had one round in the chamber.

For a split second Tommy recalled what Senator Raymond de Lorraine had said about how it might be more convenient if Stephanie’s murderer never made it to trial.

They checked that the Phantom software was working correctly, Tommy talking conversationally with his phone in his jacket pocket while Julie listened. The signal was clear and the conversation was recorded.

“Will you still have a signal inside the warehouse?” Julie asked.

Tommy shrugged and just then his phone vibrated and he answered it.

“The old Wellington warehouse. The office out back. Bring the money; leave the cooze. I’ve got the good stuff,” the voice sounded like it had been put through a synthesizer.

The Wellington Furniture Company had ceased manufacturing furniture in Camden over twenty years ago and now imported their stock from South East Asia for pennies on the dollar. The warehouse to their right looked like it hadn't been used since.

“Ok, this is it. If you hear gunshots come a running and call for backup, otherwise keep your tidy little ass in the car and make sure everything is recorded,” Tommy reverted to his old gruff self.

Julie guessed it was nervous tension and she just nodded.

The big main doors that trucks used to enter and leave the warehouse were securely locked but the pedestrian access door had been prised open long ago and stood ajar. Tommy checked his weapon for what must have been the twentieth time and stepped into the gloom. He gave himself a minute for his eyes to adjust.

The main warehouse floor was deserted except for some old furniture probably used by the homeless or teenagers looking for somewhere to party. Empty booze bottles, cigarette butts and drug paraphernalia littered the filthy floor. There were signs that someone had lit a fire in a rusty old forty-four gallon drum.

“I’m in,” Tommy whispered, his feet crackling on broken crack pipes and syringes.

The only light came from the rays of sunshine shining through several holes in the roof and the dim yellowish light coming in through the few filthy windows where the boards had been ripped free. He could make out what he believed to be the office at the back of the warehouse through the gloom. He saw a mattress pushed against the far wall surrounded by used condoms shrivelled up like small dead jellyfish. A pair of panties bunched up in pantyhose lay tossed aside beside the makeshift bed.

“I’m heading to the office. I think I see someone,” Tommy whispered.

In the car Julie was chewing her lip.

As he approached the rear of the warehouse Tommy saw a sign on the partially open door that said Dispatch Office confirming what he suspected. As he got closer he could see that someone was sitting in a chair in the middle of the floor.

He got closer still and saw that it was a woman with long blonde hair. She was tied to the chair with her back to him.

“Our suspect has a hostage. She’s tied to a chair in the office,” Tommy said evenly, although his heart was racing.

Tommy’s instincts took over and he abandoned caution and ran into the office and straight to the woman tied up to the wooden hard-backed chair.

He ran around the chair so that he was facing her and realised too late that he was looking at a mannequin. The female dummy was dressed in a cheap dress, a cheaper blonde wig and her face was crudely made-up. Tommy heard the crunch of footwear on the filthy floor and reached for his weapon but it was too late.

He felt the sting of the needle on the side of his neck then his knees buckled and his sight grew dim. A shadowy figure took Tommy’s gun from his holster and shoved it in his pants then he pushed the mannequin aside. The rope around the mannequin’s chest was in fact loosely tied; just a prop.

The figure manhandled Tommy into the chair and ripped off his jacket and his ballistic vest. He used the same rope to tie Tommy into the chair so that he didn’t collapse. This time the rope was no prop.

“Don’t worry detective. The injection I gave you won’t kill you or even knock you out for a little while. I want to ask you some questions,” the shadowy figure was dressed all in black and wore a black ski mask and soft leather gloves.

“Fuck you,” Tommy’s voice was a whisper and to him it seemed indistinct and far away.

He hoped that Julie had heard him and was on her way or calling the cavalry.

The man hit tommy in the stomach with a roundhouse punch and Tommy doubled over, held in the chair only by the rope.

“Be nice detective. All I want to know is how you know Stephanie Carter,” the masked man asked.

Tommy’s head felt like it was filled with cotton wool, his throat was parched and he was dizzy. His belly felt like it was on fire.

“She’s dead,” Tommy replied.

He didn’t want to tell this man anything but he found that his free will seemed to have deserted him.

“How did she die?” the man asked.

“Fuck you,” Tommy managed to overcome the almost irresistible urge to tell the truth.

This time the blow crashed into his cheek and Tommy’s head lolled to one side.

“Be fucking nice!” the man hissed.

“Murdered,” Tommy whispered when the man pushed back two of Tommy’s fingers to the stage where he thought they would pop.

“By who?” the man asked.

“By you asshole,” to his surprise, Tommy managed a snigger.

The man pulled Tommy’s nine millimetre from his waistband and put it against Tommy’s head.

“I can make it look like suicide. You cops eat your guns all the time,” the man sniggered right back at Tommy.

“Fuck you,” Tommy spat blood and the man eased back the safety.

Julie was a good shot but the office was shrouded in shadows and she didn’t want to hit Tommy so took a few steps closer until she was at the office door. Her low heels crunched on a piece of broken glass and the masked man turned her way and emptied the magazine in her direction.

Julie dived for cover and luckily landed on the filthy mattress. She rolled over and returned fire through the doorway but aimed deliberately high so as not to hit Tommy. The masked man dropped Tommy’s pistol and wrenched his own pistol from a shoulder holster and fired back at her and Julie kept rolling until she was up against the office wall.

She heard running footsteps and a door slam and she rolled into a crouch in the open doorway with her pistol aimed where the man had been standing but he was gone. She heard a high powered car engine fire up and the screeching of tires. As much as she wanted to follow in the masked man’s footsteps, even if only to get a tag, she didn’t. Her first duty was to Tommy.

His head was bowed and he seemed comatose and Julie put her hand on Tommy’s neck and felt for a pulse. His pulse was steady and then Tommy coughed and whispered something.

“What Tommy?” she leaned in close to him.

“No hospitals, no cops, keep this to ourselves,” Tommy seemed to have exhausted himself speaking those few words but he whispered something else.

“What?” she leaned in again.

“You're a lousy shot sweet cheeks,” Tommy managed a faint smile before the darkness swallowed him.

*****

Getting Tommy back to her hotel room had been a logistical nightmare. She tried to half drag – half carry Tommy to the car which became too difficult because Tommy was a dead weight so she resorted to using a fireman’s carry. She’d been terrified that the gunfire would attract attention and that a squad car would arrive at any moment. Luckily the noise of the gunshots which had sounded thunderous inside the cavernous warehouse hadn't travelled far.

The Grand Hotel had an underground parking garage and Julie parked the city car as close as possible to the elevator then waited until she was certain that the car park was devoid of other guests before she dragged Tommy into the elevator and held him upright as the elevator crawled its way up to the uppermost floor where her suite was situated. Her excuse for Tommy’s condition if a hotel guest or one of the staff entered the elevator was that he had drunk too much but luckily they had the car to themselves all the way to the top.

Inside her room she dragged Tommy to the bedroom and conducted a cursory examination. Every fibre in her being told her to take Tommy to Camden City Community Hospital and to inform Captain McElroy what had happened but she had made a promise to Tommy and unless it appeared he had sustained life-threating wounds she would keep it.

Tommy’s cheek was bruised but his breathing was steady. He was not bleeding as far as she could tell so he hadn't been hit during the crossfire. She undressed Tommy, checking for any other injuries as she did so. All she found was the bruising on his flat stomach where his assailant had punched him. His breathing remained steady. It appeared that he was in a deep sleep.

What else she found was disturbing. Tommy was lean and muscled, his skin pale except for his arms, legs and face which were tanned. His chest was scarred by little pockmarks of silvery flesh. Julie had investigated cases reported by the Child Protective Service involving criminal abuse. She recognised the scars as cigarette burns. There were other old scars on his torso and his upper arms and legs. Experienced child abusers knew how to hurt kids in such a way that their injuries did not show.

She softly circled the scars with her fingertips and choked back a sob. It looked like Tommy had been systematically abused as a child. She used warm soapy water to wipe down his body, leaving on his underpants for modesty. He had a substantial package in his briefs and she blushed when she cleaned his lower body.

She put a sheet and blanket over him and brushed the thick dark hair out of his eyes. Instinctively she leaned down and kissed his cheek.

The man who had tied up and assaulted Tommy had told him that the injection that he’d given Tommy wouldn’t kill him and Julie had to take that on its face value. When she was reasonably assured that Tommy was not going to die and that he had no critical injuries she left him to sleep off the drug and took some time to evaluate the situation.

She had Tommy’s gun, his vest and his phone. The city car was theirs for the duration of the investigation. She and Tommy reported directly to the captain so no one was going to be checking up on them. She replayed the recording they had made using the Phantom software.

The man who had lured them to the warehouse had set up an elaborate trap but he hadn't known that Stephanie Carter was dead or that she had been murdered or who was responsible so it was likely that he wasn’t the killer but that couldn’t be ruled out. She replayed the sequence of events as she stripped off her filthy suit and took a shower.

She changed into lycra sports tights and a T-shirt not bothering with shoes. She checked on Tommy and suddenly felt exhausted. Julie lay down on the other side of the bed and fell into a deep sleep. Sometime during the night Tommy rolled over and put his arm around her. She could feel his breath on her neck. His respiration had changed; it was no longer the deep steady breathing that one associated with someone who was unconscious or in a coma. It was more staccato, like someone who was dreaming.

“I’m sorry mom,” he mumbled and then he was silent.

She listened to him breathe for a while, feeling his chest rise and fall and then she fell back to sleep.

Day Four

It was still dark when Tommy stirred and woke her up and for a second or two Julie didn’t realise where she was. The only person who had ever slept in her bed overnight was Gail Johnson. Julie had never let a man stay overnight. She gently removed Tommy’s arm and rolled out of her side of the bed. The lights of the city crept through the cracks in the curtains.

Tommy rolled over onto his back and his eyes opened. He stared at the ceiling for a while then he tried to get up but his head fell back onto the pillows.

“Did someone shit in my mouth?” Tommy said.

His voice was weak and gravelly.

“Someone drugged you,” Julie replied as she walked out of the bedroom and then returned with a bottle of chilled water and a glass.

Tommy reached for the water but he was uncoordinated.

Julie poured water into the glass and gently lifted Tommy’s head and put the glass to his lips. He tried to snatch the glass from her hand and gulp down the cool refreshing liquid but she refused to let go and made him sip it.

“Do you remember what happened?” Julie asked.

“I don’t know who was the biggest dummy, me or that mannequin. It was a rookie move. I remember being tied to the chair and some guy in a mask beating on me,” Tommy’s speech was becoming steadier.

Julie checked his eyes and saw that they were focussed.

“Follow my finger,” she held up a finger and moved it from side to side and Tommy followed it.

“The side of my face hurts and I feel like a mule kicked me in the guts,” Tommy tried to force a smile and Julie let him take the glass and he finished the water.

He held it out for a refill and realised that the bedding had fallen away from his chest and he snatched it back up to his neck.

“I’m naked,” Tommy declared as he sipped more water.

“I undressed you and put you to bed,” Julie watched him intently; looking for any signs that Tommy might be concussed.

Tommy felt around under the covers and seemed relieved to find that he was still wearing his briefs.

“Did you check me out?” Tommy tried to give her a salacious grin.

“You want me to get mine out so we can see whose is bigger?” Julie smiled back at him.

Tommy instinctively looked at her crotch and saw the tight ‘V’ in her spandex tights.

“Does it hurt tucking it away like that?” the old Tommy was back.

“Do you want something to eat? I’m famished,” Julie ignored the question.

Tommy nodded and was able to sit up in bed. He kept the sheet pulled up tight under his chin.

“I want a burger, fries and a shake with a shot of Jack in it,” Tommy grinned at her.

“I’ll call room service and see what they can rustle up,” Julie replied.

“Shit! My gun!” a look of panic crossed Tommy’s face.

“I have it and your vest and your phone. The city car is parked downstairs. No one knows what happened except us and the masked guy and whoever sent him,” Julie replied leaving the bedroom to use the house phone next to the sofa.

She found that there were slim pickings available from room service at this time of the morning but she placed an order and returned to the bedroom. Tommy had tried to get out of bed but he lost his balance so he sat on the edge of the bed with the sheet wrapped around him.

“Get back into bed. I’ll feed you and we can go over what happened yesterday, take stock, and determine our next move. Do you need your phone? Is there anyone you need to call?” Julie asked.

“Nah. No wife, no girlfriend, no family. Now you have my life story, tell me yours,” Tommy grunted at the pain in his belly as he climbed back under the covers.

“I was a happy NYPD detective but my boss made me go to Camden to work with an angry, transphobic, masochistic asshole who it turns out has a modicum of affability that he keeps well hidden. Now you have my life story,” Julie replied.

Tommy shrugged. Neither of them were willing to share anything about their past and Julie figured there was no need to but she couldn’t help thinking of the scars on Tommy’s body. She knew that children who were systematically abused usually grew into adults who were emotionally scarred and found it hard to trust others. They put a hard shell around their true feelings.

Julie turned on the television, tuned it to local news and muted the sound and they watched the scroll at the bottom the screen but there was nothing about a disturbance at the warehouse district or about the Stephanie Carter murder.

“It will get out eventually,” Tommy said and Julie knew that he meant the truth about the Stephanie Carter case.

“Then we better solve it quickly Tommy,” Julie replied.

She went into the bathroom and came out with a toothbrush loaded with toothpaste, a glass of water and another empty glass for Tommy to spit in.

“You asked if someone had shit in your mouth,” she offered the toothbrush to Tommy.

He stared at the toothbrush quizzically.

“I don’t have cooties,” she smiled at him and Tommy took the toothbrush.

She left him alone and went to answer the door when their room service arrived. She wheeled the trolley into the bedroom and took the toothbrush and water glasses back into the bathroom, pouring out the glasses and rinsing them before returning to the bedroom.

“Come sit here,” Tommy patted the bed beside him.

Julie tentatively parked her bottom on the edge of the bed.

“I’m sorry,” Tommy choked on the words.

“Sorry for what?” Julie whispered.

“Sorry for being an angry, transphobic, masochistic asshole. You’re a good cop,” Tommy gave her a boyish smile.

Julie said nothing.

“You look younger without the makeup,” Tommy reached up and gently smoothed the bangs out of her eyes with his fingertips.

Julie blushed. She wasn’t used to affection except from Gail and she had pushed her away when Gail wanted commitment.

“Don’t go soft on me Tommy,” Julie made to get up and Tommy pulled her down.

His strength had returned and she felt the tightness of his grip on her upper arm. He raised his head off the pillow and pressed his lips against hers.

The kiss was soft and affectionate. There was no passion but Julie felt an undercurrent like the pull of an undertow that could easily cause them to drown together if they let their feelings get away from them.

She broke the kiss and cleared her throat nervously.

“I’m sorry,” Tommy whispered again.

“But not for the kiss. Thank you for everything you have done for me,” he rubbed her arm affectionately, like a close friend might do.

They ate soup and crackers and shared a grilled pastrami and Swiss cheese sandwich.

“I need to tell you something. Unless the DNA turns up anything it might be our only lead,” Julie broke the silence.

She told Tommy about what Ryan had said about the Fleur de Lis business card. She didn’t tell Tommy how she and Ryan had met and Tommy didn’t ask but he guessed that Julie had picked Ryan up in a bar or on one of the many of escort and dating sites.

“So this Ryan guy, we need to interview him,” Tommy sounded like the effects of the drug had left his system.

Julie reached for her phone, opened her escort service app and brought up the picture of the man Ryan had identified as having worked for Fleur de Lis.

“No. We need to find this guy,” she held the phone out so that Tommy could see the screen.

“How do we do that?” Tommy looked at her quizzically.

Julie blushed again. She was making a habit of blushing in front of Tommy and it irritated her.

“I’ll call him for a date and we interview him,” Julie said matter-of-factly.

Tommy remained silent.

“Or you can. I'm sure he swings both ways,” Julie snipped.

“You do it,” it was Tommy’s turn to blush.

*****

Tommy snatched a few more hours sleep while Julie worked the case and drank coffee. She showered and changed while Tommy slept. She fixed her makeup and woke Tommy up and left him alone to shower and dress. His suit was a mess and his shirt was stained and they stopped off at Tommy’s apartment while he changed clothes. Tommy didn’t invite her in and Julie waited patiently in the car.

“What the fuck happened to you?” Jack Shepard asked back at Police Plaza.

“I had a falling out with an uncooperative witness,” Tommy made light of the bruise on his cheek.

“The tranny cooze wasn’t much help I take it,” Jack snarled, giving Julie a look of hatred.

“You know what. Come with me Jack. Julie, open up the office please,” he tossed the keys to their makeshift office to Julie and led Jack into the adjoining interview room and closed the door.

“Lay off Julie, please Jack,” Tommy said.

“What, it’s fucking Julie now? You're not fuckin’ that broad are you? I never figured you for a homo Tommy,” Jack baited his partner.

Tommy pushed Jack into the wall.

“She’s a good cop Jack. I got her all wrong. Sure she’s… well she’s different but she doesn’t let that stand in the way of policework and that’s what I need right now Jack. Someone who’ll call me on my bullshit, test my theories, cooperate when I need her to and argue when it’s called for,” Tommy let go of Jack and smoothed his lapels.

“When this case is over we’ll team up again and it will be like old times,” Tommy said, reassuringly patting Jack’s meaty shoulders.

“You know what? Kiss my ass Tommy. That queer broad has fucked up your head. I’m not sure I wanna work with you anymore,” Jack said bitterly.

“Just let me close this case Jack and we’ll be good,” Tommy said, trying to appeal to Jack’s camaraderie.

“Fuck you Tommy,” Jack said sulkily and slammed the door on his way out.

Tommy went next door and joined Julie.

“Trouble in paradise?” Julie had heard the door slam next door.

“Don’t start please,” Tommy said and Julie took the hint and let it rest.

“I ran a search on Stephanie Carter’s apartment. It’s leased through a shell company, not in her name,” Julie changed the subject.

“Yeah,” Tommy sounded distracted, probably because of his altercation with Jack Shepard Julie thought.

“The company’s name is White Lily Investments,” Julie added.

“Right,” Tommy was still distracted.

“Tommy! Fleur and lis mean 'flower' and 'lily' respectively in French. Are you even listening to me?” Julie barked.

“Oh, ok. So it’s possible that Stephanie Carter was not just working as a whore for this dating agency, which let’s face it is just a fancy name for procurer of prostitutes, she was being supported by them,” Tommy came out of his reverie.

Julie flinched when Tommy described dating agencies as procurers of prostitutes because she was a regular user of their services.

“They own other apartments scattered around Camden City but the listing for the company address is just a mail drop. What I’m getting at Tommy is that the pimp theory doesn’t hold water. Why kill one of your most valuable assets?” Julie speculated.

“Like I said it could be a warning to the other hookers. Don’t steal my money or my drugs,” Tommy replied.

“We’re not dealing with street hookers here. Stephanie Carter was accommodated in a nice apartment, her clothes were expensive, she had designer shoes. The pimp angle doesn’t work for me,” Julie said.

Tommy reluctantly agreed.

“What about the drugs? Could she have been ripping off a dealer?” Tommy asked.

Julie searched through a pile of reports on her desk until she found what she was looking for.

“The cocaine, speed and ecstasy found in her apartment were very high quality. The drugs were cut with bespoke laboratory chemicals not the usual crap like baking powder or talc. These aren’t street drugs,” Julie began to get excited.

“Think about it Tommy. Stephanie is living in a very well-appointed apartment; the sound system alone cost more than my car. The drugs are designer and so are her clothes,” Julie continued.

“She works for an exclusive dating agency that doesn’t advertise publicly, doesn’t even have a website that I can find, it’s only available by recommendation. Stephanie Carter was like a bird kept in a gilded cage, only available to select clientele,” Julie tapped the royal purple business card with the raised gold printing.

“So who was the guy who drugged me and beat me up?” Tommy countered.

“Maybe this White Lily Investments hired him to find out what happened to one their most exclusive investments? The thug didn’t seem to know what happened to Stephanie Carter either. He drugged you to get information from you,” Julie replied.

“So, all roads lead to Fleur de Lis. You better make your date. How do you want to do this?” Tommy’s attitude had changed.

He was deferring to Julie rather than bossing her around.

*****

The sting was nothing elaborate. Julie used her escort service app and found Randy, which was the name of the man identified by Ryan. His profile listed him as ‘Bi and Top or Bottom Versatile’.

“What the fuck does that mean?” Tommy asked.

“Have you been living under a rock Tommy? He’s bisexual and can switch between catching and pitching,” Julie said and Tommy still looked perplexed and then he deciphered the metaphor and it was his turn to blush.

She made the booking and Tommy made a quip about being able to claim it on expenses if she got a receipt and Julie told him to fuck himself.

They decided that Julie’s hotel suite was a good a place as any to spring the trap so they went there via a liquor store where Julie picked up two bottles of Australian Pinot Noir and Tommy two six packs of domestic beer which Julie thought said a lot about how different they were.

Tommy sipped his Bud while Julie poured a glass of wine and retired to the bedroom to change.

“I need to look the part when I answer the door otherwise Randy will smell a rat. These guys do this for a living, they are always careful with a new customer,” Julie explained.

Julie was living out of a suitcase so she wore same ensemble she had worn for her interlude with Ryan: the same heavy makeup, ultra-sheer nylon stockings, black lacy boy-leg panties and the semi-transparent black negligee and black high heels.

“Jesus!” Tommy choked on his beer when Julie came out of the bedroom enclosed in a miasma of exotic perfume.

“I told you I need to look the part. Women like to look sexy and desirable even when they're paying for it,” Julie said matter-of-factly.

Tommy tried to avert his gaze but it was difficult as they sat side by side on the sofa reviewing their plan, she drinking a Pinot Noir and Tommy his Bud.

When the doorbell chimed Tommy retired to the bedroom.

Randy turned out to be a twenty-something blonde twink. He projected a confident demeanour and was comfortable with his handsomeness. He was wearing ripped jeans, boots and a skin-tight t-shirt but it was all designer. His hair was professionally styled.

“You look ravishing,” he kissed Julie’s hand as he entered the suite, taking in the surroundings as men and women employed in his profession were want to do.

He knew that Julie must have money to be able to afford his services and she was staying in one of the hotel’s best suites. She led him to the same couch where she and Tommy had been talking only minutes before.

“Do you want to make small talk or shall we just get down to it. Ryan tells me you have quite a voracious appetite,” Randy smirked at her and Julie took an instant dislike to him.

“I thought my service promised discretion,” Julie sniped.

She knew that Tommy was listening to their conversation from the bedroom.

“Sex workers talk amongst ourselves but we never snitch to our clients and never to people outside our circle,” Randy smirked.

“Well I think you will talk to me and my partner,” Julie whipped her badge and her gun out from under the couch.

Tommy came out of the bedroom and went straight to the door, blocking any attempt Randy might make to flee.

“This is entrapment,” Randy growled.

“We’re not vice and we have no interest in your employment or your current employer for that matter,” Julie gave him a smug grin.

Julie put on the white terry bathrobe provided by the hotel. She had no intention of grilling a potential witness dressed only in her lingerie.

“Ryan tells me that you used to work for Fleur de Lis,” Julie sat Randy down on the couch while Tommy took up station behind him.

The look of anxiety on Randy’s face was either a product of Julie bring up the name Fleur de Lis or Tommy’s menacing presence or likely both.

“Ryan talks too much,” Randy whined.

“Like my partner said, we are not vice cops but we know plenty of them. If you cooperate and answer our questions you walk out of here with your fee and a generous tip. If you don’t we know some police officers who can make your life very uncomfortable,” Tommy tapped Randy on the shoulder.

“Fleur de Lis can make my life very uncomfortable if I talk to you about them. They have people who, shall we say, enforce their non-disclosure agreement very forcefully,” Randy was no longer smug.

“Caught between a rock and hard place Randy,” Tommy squeezed Randy’s shoulder.

“Just tell me about your employment with Fleur de Lis. Ryan said you made your money and got out,” Julie tried a more friendly approach.

She poured him a glass of wine and Randy drank it in one swallow and held out the glass for a refill.

“I worked for them for six months. They're very exclusive. Their clientele are the rich and famous and they demand secrecy but they like special services,” Randy began to open up.

“Any perversion you can think of, they offer. Any type of man, woman and everything in between is on offer,” he stared at Julie and gave her a sarcastic grin.

“Go on,” Julie encouraged him.

“They pay well and the clients tip well. They also provide recreational substances and performance enhancers. Fleur de Lis employees are encouraged to motivate the clients to partake of said substances and are paid a bonus if they upsell. You can’t go wrong selling sex and drugs to the affluent,” Randy smiled.

“Fleur de lis, whatever you desire. Their trademark says it all,” Randy’s smile became a smirk.

“Why did you leave?” Julie asked.

“I didn’t like some of the stuff I was asked to do. You do not say no to a client. I won’t go into details but I’m not into torture porn, scat, sadism or any other form of paraphilia. I’m a meat and potatoes guy. Straight, gay, trans, anal, oral, top, bottom, a little light B and D, sure. Group sessions are fine too but it got to the stage where I didn’t like what I was doing and I didn’t like pushing drugs,” Randy said with a straight-laced expression on his face.

“And they let you leave?” Tommy asked.

“Sure. I signed a non-disclosure agreement and I was visited by a very scary guy who reminded me of me my obligations,” Randy replied.

“But not all of Fleur de Lis’ employees are so fortunate,” Julie pushed Randy for more information.

“Look. They gave me a secure login to their website and access to their dating app. I was told where to go and what to expect when I got there. They provided me with a stash of products to push and to be honest most of the clients had requested their drug of choice when they made the booking,” Randy explained.

“I was picked up and dropped off at the venue and taken home after. Sometimes there would be a few of us in one car if it was a sex party,” Ryan took a sip of wine.

“Some of us knew that Fleur de Lis had other employees whom they kept in various apartments around the city who select clients would go to visit but I wasn’t with Fleur de Lis long enough to find out who they were and where they lived. Nobody uses their real names we all used nom de plumes. They liked their French,” Randy chuckled.

“Ryan said something to me. He asked me if Fleur de Lis had offered me a job. He said I was their type,” Julie continued the interview but changed tack.

“Hey, a beautiful trans chick like you? You’d be very popular. They’d love to have someone like you on the books,” he gave Julie an appreciative look.

“So with all the secrecy, how would one gain employment?” Julie asked.

“Like I said, potential employees and potential customers have to be recommended,” Ryan shrugged his shoulders.

Randy spied Julie’s laptop sitting in the little nook where there was a desk. Julie had set up a work station there.

“Look. I haven’t been on there for a while but last time I checked my login was still active,” Randy nodded at Julie’s personal laptop

“Show me,” Julie stood and indicated that Randy should follow her to the desk.

Tommy followed but ensured he was positioned to block Randy’s escape route.

“You have a VPN I take it?” Randy asked as Julie opened her browser.

“Who doesn’t?” Julie replied activating her VPN and vacating the seat so Randy could sit at the desk.

“Ok, were going onto the dark web. I'm going to need to download the Tor browser,” he said clicking away on the keyboard.

A few minutes later Randy entered the web address for Fleur de Lis and the webpage opened.

It looked very benign. The page looked exactly the same as the business card they had found in Stephanie Carter’s apartment. It had a royal purple background with the stylised emblem of a three-petal lily and in gold font were the words Fleur de Lis - Whatever You Desire. In the top right corner was a login icon.

Randy logged in.

“I have an employee account and can access content that customers don’t have access to,” Ryan explained while the little hourglass icon spun around in circles.

Julie and Tommy noticed that pages loaded a lot more slowly on the dark web because of the level of encryption in use.

“Voilà! We’re in. I still have access,” Randy sounded pleased with himself.

He clicked an icon that said Whatever You Desire and a menu appeared.

“This is where customers browse for services,” Randy explained.

“Go ahead,” he vacated the seat and Tommy sat down.

Randy was going nowhere now.

A pull-down menu allowed clients to select: ‘Girls’ ‘Boys’ or ‘Specialties’.

Tommy clicked on the ‘Girls’ icon and a series of thumbnails appeared on the screen. The women were mostly young and all were attractive; the same when Tommy selected ‘Boys’.

“They still have me listed,” Randy pointed to his thumbnail on the screen.

Under several tastefully posed pictures of Randy both clothed and naked was listed his proclivities and a rating. Randy’s rating was 8/10.

“I was rated higher when I working,” Randy said almost apologetically.

“I'm surprised they still have you listed and that you still have a login,” Julie said.

“Well when I stopped working for them they asked if I might come back and I said sure, maybe. Some of their employees take a break, a sabbatical if you like, and then come back to work for Fleur de Lis. Its hard work but the money is good,” Randy explained.

“Hard work!” Tommy scoffed.

“Hey selling your body, letting people do things to you that are utterly humiliating and sometimes involve pain and degradation is not easy employment,” Randy whined.

Tommy pulled down the ‘Specialties’ menu and the first thumbnail to pop up was a huge, obese woman. She might be fat but she was pretty. She was wearing a black G-string and tiny bra that barely contained her huge breasts. Her skin was milky white and covered with intricate tattoos. She was pierced in every place that it was possible to be pierced and in her nudes you could see that her nipples and genitalia were also pierced.

“Chick looks like she landed face first in a tackle box,” Tommy chuckled.

“Some people like facial piercings,” Randy sounded nonplussed.

“Let’s see if we can find Stephanie?” Julie said.

They found Stephanie Carter listed under the name Angel. There was a description of her proclivities which ran to the exotic but not perverse.

“What’s this gold star?” Tommy asked, moving the cursor over the gold star icon in top corner of the page.

“It means she’s only available to gold star members. She’s special and she is very expensive,” Randy explained.

“Do they give frequent flier miles?” Tommy’s joke fell flat.

“She’s listed as eighteen, bottom only and provides the full GFE. Available for in and outcalls and is available for groups and parties by special arrangement,” Julie read from the screen.

“GFE?” Tommy asked.

“Girlfriend experience,” Julie and Randy chimed in unison.

“Girls like her attract repeat customers and they treat them more like lovers than prostitutes. That’s where the big bucks are,” Randy sighed.

“Stephanie was twenty when she ran away so she was at least twenty-one when she died,” Julie mused.

“Look at her. She could pass for sixteen if she wanted. Youth sells,” Randy added.

“Here you go,” Randy pointed to a menu icon labelled Employment Opportunities.

Tommy clicked it.

Upload recent pictures, resume and contact details here. All applications must be lodged by Fleur de Lis employees

“See what I mean. It’s a closed shop. You have to be recommended,” Randy sounded almost proud of the fact.

“Ok, here is how this is going to work Randy. You’re going to leave me your login, password and contact number, then you are going on a holiday as far away as possible,” Julie said in her most serious tone.

“The fuck I am!” Randy protested.

“This is a murder investigation. Stephanie Carter had her throat cut and I was nearly killed while investigating the case. We will contact you once we close the case. If you stick around we’re goin to lock you up in solitary. Your choice, it’s either a vacation or a cell,” Tommy growled.

Randy snatched up a piece of hotel stationary and began to write.

“I hear Florida is nice this time of year,” Tommy patted Ryan on the shoulder as he led him to the door.

“One last thing Randy. I don’t have to say this but I will. One word to anyone, including your buddy Ryan and I’ll find you and lock you up and charge you with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest because you will arrive at Police Plaza battered and bruised,” Tommy patted Ryan’s shoulder again.

The smug look disappeared from Randy’s face and he bolted out the door forgetting to ask for his tip.

“The threat Tommy? Really?” Julie sighed.

Tommy just gave her a cheeky grim and shrugged.

“Ok, what now?” Tommy asked Julie.

She was surprised that Tommy was asking her what to do next as he was usually so forceful.

“I think you know what I’m thinking. I apply for a job and see what else I can find out about Stephanie Carter or Angel as we now know her,” Julie offered, pulling the terry robe tightly around her.

She wasn’t cold; it was a subconscious action because she was once again alone with Tommy and dressed provocatively.

“I don’t think so. I think we get a warrant and go at it that way,” Tommy replied taking another Bud from the refrigerator.

“Remember when you said that the alphabet soup brigade should understand that we need PC. Where’s the Probable Cause Tommy? We haven’t yet linked Stephanie Carter’s employment to her murder,” Julie sipped wine.

“And who do we serve the warrants on, White Lily Investments or Fleur de Lis? We only suspect that White Lilly owns Fleur de Lis we can’t prove the link legally and we have no idea where the company is situated. Once we start sniffing around using subpoenas and search warrants you can bet the company will clam up. Operations like these can shut down in a flash then reopen under another name. All they need is to keep their employees and clientele,” Julie continued.

“Anyway I’m not convinced that Fleur de Lis is directly responsible for Stephanie’s murder otherwise why would they send a thug to interrogate you? It’s more likely the murderer is one of their customers or possibly an employee and the way to find that out without giving away our hand is to infiltrate Fleur de Lis,” Julie took another sip of wine.

“Remember we need to keep a lid on this and Randy said that Fleur de Lis clientele are the rich and famous. If we stir up the hornets’ nest we are likely to get stung,” Julie concluded.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Tommy put his hands on Julie’s shoulders and searched her eyes.

It was reassuring feeling Tommy’s hands on her body. She recalled him putting his arm around her when he slept and the kiss the following morning. They hadn't spoken about it since.

“I don’t want to do it Tommy, I have to,” Julie sighed.

“Then we’re doing this together. I’m going to be on you like white on rice. We’re heading into uncharted territory here Julie,” Tommy said.

“Mixing your metaphors again Tommy,” Julie smiled at him and once again Tommy was taken with her unique beauty.

She padded over to the laptop. Randy was still signed in and she clicked the Employment Opportunities icon and read the instructions and began to type.

“What are you doing?” Tommy leaned over her shoulder so he could watch.

She smelled beer on his breath and the cologne that he always wore. Whenever she smelled that scent it reminded Julie of him. It reminded her of his manliness, his powerfulness, the anger and rage that seemed to dwell just below the surface. But he also hid a soft side of himself, the gentle side, possibly a loving side. Tommy Lomax was an enigma.

“I’m filling in the resume. It’s along the lines that I’ve done this before but I am new to Camden and looking for employment opportunities,” Julie wrote up a resume that was simple and succinct and full of lies.

There was a checklist of sexual peccadillos which the potential employee was prepared to undertake.

“I don’t even understand what some of these things mean,” Tommy stared at the screen with a furrowed brow.

“For a man of the world you lead a very vanilla life Tommy,” Julie teased him.

“It’s easier if I just tick this box that reads anything and everything, it will make me a more desirable candidate,” Julie said.

She clicked the box and it autofilled all of the selections.

Then she came to the section that read: Upload recent pictures here. Must include at least three full-frontal nudes, eveningwear and portraits. Julie swallowed.

“Ok. I’m going to need your help here Tommy. A couple of selfies aren’t going to cut it,” Julie’s voice was a little hoarse at the prospect.

“No fucking way!” Tommy baulked.

“Be a professional Tommy. They're just photographs,” Julie insisted but she was nervous too.

“Here. Go and get yourself another beer and pour me another glass of wine and let’s get this done. The alcohol will mellow our inhibitions,” Julie finished her wine and handed him her glass.

“If Jack Shepard knew I was doing this he would have a heart attack,” Tommy whined as he opened the refrigerator.

“I thought I’d cured you of Jack Shepard’s influences and opinions,” Julie said, a little irritated.

Julie led Tommy into the bedroom.

“I’m already dressed like this so I’ll pose on the bed and you snap away,” Julie handed Tommy her phone and fussed with her hair in the mirror.

She dropped the terry robe to reveal her body: her long shapely legs sheathed the ultra-sheer nylon stockings, her pert bottom clad in the black lacy boy-leg panties, her perky breasts clearly visible under the semi-transparent black negligee and her feet shod in black high heels.

Julie finished her wine in one long gulp and lay on the bed and began to pose while Tommy took pictures with her phone. Tommy was both sheepish and excited. Once he started taking pictures he got into it and gave Julie some tips on how to pose provocatively but tastefully.

They took a series of cheesecake pictures and she and Tommy looked at the results, discarding those that weren’t worth keeping.

“You look good in these. Have you done this before?” Tommy quipped and she gave him a withering look

They were both aware of how close they were to each other standing shoulder to shoulder with Julie dressed in lingerie, her perfume invading Tommy’s nostrils. It was as if he could feel the heat of her body and part of him longed to reach out and touch her soft, creamy skin.

“Look away please Tommy,” Julie blushed and when Tommy turned away she untucked her penis and slipped off her panties and negligée.

“Ok, please take these quickly Tommy, to save us both the embarrassment,” Julie got back on the bed.

When Tommy turned around Julie was lying on the bed posed only in her stockings and heels. She lay on her side facing him. Her breasts were opalescent and lush, the areola pinkish-brown her nipples engorged in the cool of the air conditioning. Her pubic area was devoid of hair and her long thick penis lay on her upper thigh.

Tommy swallowed.

He’d seem tranny porn before and he’d never been particularly excited by it. When he was working vice he’d snared his haul of transgender and transvestite streetwalkers and he’d been repelled by them. Any mention of the ‘alphabet soup people’ had enraged him because he had been raised by a stern father who was ultra-conservative and Tommy had joined the PD at a time when women were only just being accepted as equal to men in their abilities.

He had disliked, no that wasn’t right, he had hated Julie Sanderson the minute he’d laid eyes on her not only because of who and what she was but because she had displaced his partner.

But…

He had grudgingly come to respect her and then to actually like her, not just as a partner but as a person. Now seeing her ‘transness’ openly displayed like this he was conflicted. Part of him reviled her and another part of him desired her.

“Are you going to leave me lying here with my dick out or are you going to take the pictures?” Julie brought him out of his reverie.

Tommy reached for the can of Bud and swallowed what remained and began to take pictures. He handed her the phone when he was finished, he couldn’t bring himself to stand beside her while she reviewed his efforts. Instead he used the excuse of going into the kitchenette to refill Julie’s glass and get himself another Bud as justification to leave the bedroom.

He stood at the kitchen island and drank a full can and then reached for another. He was aware that the alcohol was taking effect but he was far from drunk.

When he returned to the bedroom Tommy was pleased to see that Julie had changed. She was wearing a body-hugging red satin floor-length gown. It was low cut and split up one side.

“I don’t even know why I packed this but hey, it’s come in handy,” Julie smiled at him and pirouetted.

Tommy’s heart did a flip. She looked beautiful. Except for his inveterate prejudice he would be proud to be been seen with Julie on his arm at any public event. In fact he would have paraded her around just to make the other men jealous.

They finished the photo shoot with a couple of portrait shots and once again Tommy was taken with Julie’s unique allure. Her emerald-green eyes, her flawless skin, her crooked nose and too-wide mouth and the almost severe shoulder-length blunt-cut bob made for a striking visage.

Tommy left the room while Julie shimmied out of the gown and put her boy-leg panties and the semi-transparent black negligee back on and then put the terry robe over the ensemble for modesty. She had changed into red Louboutin's for the eveningwear shots and she’d kicked them off when she put on the bathrobe and saw no reason to put her black heels back on.

She padded into suite in stocking feet and joined Tommy at her laptop, transferred the pictures from her phone, did a little editing and then uploaded the best of them into the online application form. She used her personal mobile number and email address to complete the contact details and submitted the application.

“Done! I need a cigarette,” Julie sighed contentedly.

“You can’t smoke in here,” Tommy’s words were slightly slurred.

Tommy followed her when she opened the door to the balcony and closed it behind him so that the smoke wouldn’t befoul the hotel room.

Julie lit up and drew in a lungful of smoke which, along with the wine, made her feel a little dizzy.

“I only smoke when I’m drinking, thinking, or after sex,” Julie jiggled the cigarette packet at Tommy and he took one.

“I’ve given up,” Tommy took a hit of his beer then lit up.

Julie leaned in close to light his cigarette and the tension between them was palpable. They smoked and Julie drank her wine while Tommy finished his beer. Julie rested her forearms on the balcony rail and took in the view of Camden City and Tommy stood beside her.

“This is going to be dangerous for you,” Tommy broke the silence.

Julie turned to face him, her face illuminated by the city lights.

“What do you care?” she looked into his deep brown eyes.

“Shut up,” he whispered and kissed her.

This wasn’t like the kiss in the bedroom. It wasn’t shallow, soft and affectionate. This time there was real passion and Julie did feel the undertow pull her and Tommy into the depths and she felt herself drowning.

“We shouldn’t be doing this Tommy,” Julie gasped.

“Shut up,” he growled and enfolded her in his arms.

He kissed her eyelids and the tip of her crooked nose and her too-wide mouth. Their tongues touched and it was like a spark passed between them, igniting their passions.

Julie felt safe and secure in Tommy’s embrace which was silly because she was tough cop who could look after herself. She knew that what they were doing was stupid. They had known each other for four days, for most of which Tommy had teased, insulted and derided her.

But Tommy had changed and she had to admit that she had changed too.

She let Tommy guide her to the bedroom where she silently undressed him. Tommy eased the terry robe off Julie’s shoulders and let it fall to the carpet and took her in arms again and kissed her. Julie melted and pressed her body into him, feeling his cock press into her belly. Her own erection pushed painfully against her silky boy-leg panties but she was grateful that it lay flat against her body. She didn’t know how Tommy would react if her felt the protuberance that betrayed her sex pressing into him.

“You are such a beautiful woman Julie,” Tommy whispered as he lowered her on the bed and crawled up beside her.

He cuddled her and kissed her, his lips soft, his tongue tentatively slipping between them and the tips of their tongues touched and ignited the passion that had cooled a little as they paused to undress. Tommy kissed her with more intensity when his hand found her full breasts. He cupped one bosom then then the other, thumbing her nipples into full bloom.

Tommy rolled Julie on her back and straddled without breaking the kiss. He loomed over her, his face close to hers, his eyelashes fluttering her cheek, his breath whispering against her neck, his cock distended, the head pushing lightly on her belly.

Julie moaned when Tommy opened her negligee and suckled her breasts. His tongue circled her areola then lashed her nipples. He sucked a nipple into his mouth and fluttered his tongue on the dark berry, first one breast and then the other. His hands were everywhere on her body except her pubis, stroking her flesh, teasing her.

Julie reached for him and found him rampant and throbbing, a string of pre-ejaculate trailed from the eye of his penis and Julie gathered the slick salve and rubbed it into the shaft and slowly stroked him. Tommy shuddered and gasped into her mouth. She slowly and deliberately kneaded his manhood while Tommy whimpered, his mouth nursing her breasts, his hands caressing her cheeks, circling her ears, stroking her neck, drifting down past her breasts, circling her navel and her flat belly.

Julie lifted his face to hers so she could kiss him. She kissed him deeply and his hand continued its journey down her abdomen and then paused when his fingers touched the waistband of her panties. Julie sensed his hesitation and snatched his hand away. She sensed that as much as Tommy wanted her, he wasn’t yet ready to touch her down there.

She didn’t mind. She understood his reluctance and Tommy had awakened such yearning and need in her that she forgave him. He would satisfy her in other ways.

She rolled from under him. Julie was a big strong woman and Tommy was a little surprised when she pinned him down on the bed, exchanging positions so that she was straddling him. Her face fell to his, her soft hair tickled his cheeks and formed a curtain around his face as her lips opened and she devoured his mouth. Her lips savagely pressed against his, she sucked his tongue into her mouth and their tongues attacked each other.

They both gasped with the intensity of it and Tommy was a little disappointed when Julie stopped kissing him but then her mouth began a slow journey his body. She nipped his neck, lapped at the hollows his clavicle, she nibbled his nipples. Julie paused and gently touched the circular scars on Tommy’s chest and then she lowered her face and kissed each one of them. She caressed the other raised jagged scars on his torso with her soft lips.

Tommy felt a wave of emotion as she did so. Most women found the scars repulsive but Julie tended to them like she was trying to swallow the pain that Tommy had suffered and in that moment he would have done anything in the world to protect Julie. To savour her uniqueness and compassion. To take away the pain she must have felt every time he had insulted and aggrieved her.

But she never gave him time to say anything because she continued her journey down his body and she took his manhood in her mouth.

Tommy groaned and sighed as Julie collected him with her lips. She flittered her tongue along the shaft and when she came to his fraenulum she lapped at the sensitive flesh and Tommy snarled his fingers in her hair and pushed her face harder into his groin. Julie sensed his need and she swallowed his penis, her lips working on the turgid flesh of his shaft whilst her tongue flittered his glans.

Circlets of intense pleasure erupted from Tommy’s groin; his body alight with desire and longing. Julie brought him to extremis, she cupped his scrotum and sucked his cock and felt it contract and his penis stretched to full tumescence in anticipation of ejaculation but Julie denied him.

She spat out his cock and quickly mounted him, straddling him, guiding his rampant member inside the crotch of her panties and guiding the head of his penis into her puckered bud.

Julie smiled down at Tommy as she slowly impaled herself on his stallion-like protuberance, wincing with the pain of it, moaning with the pleasure. Her sphincter opened like a tight fleshy seal as Tommy’s glans slipped past the circlet of nerve endings which ignited with pleasure, whilst at the same time protested with pain. Then his shaft slid inside her tight sheath, a steady stream of pre-seminal fluid partially lubricating its passage.

Tommy lightly rested his hands on her hips, not wanting to hurt her, resisting the temptation to drive her ass down on his aching cock, amazed by the utter sensuousness of the feel of Julie’s tight sheath around his rampant organ.

When she had Tommy fully inside her Julie began to slowly raise her buttocks up and down, riding him. Tommy pulled her face to his and kissed her passionately. He rose up to meet her, timing his thrusts with her motion. She ground her bottom into his pubis each time he was fully buried inside her.

Tommy’s cock felt magnificent inside Julie’s anus. It lit up her pleasure centres, enflaming her sphincter, drawing deep feelings of fulfilment from her prostate. Her cock tented the front of her panties, aching for Tommy to touch it, aching for sweet release as she felt Tommy’s penis begin to throb inside her, his heart pounded, his breathing become ragged as a precursor to climax.

She felt his hand snake across her belly but once again when it touched her panties he withdrew it.

Julie didn’t care. She drove her tongue into his mouth and bucked up and down on his rigid pole and when she felt his engorged phallus begin to shudder and spew forth his roiling issue she drove herself down on him and shuddered as her sphincter lit up and her prostate combusted, issuing ringlets of intense delight and she climaxed right along with him.

The front of her panties suddenly bloomed with milky spunk as Julie ejaculated. Tommy was oblivious; he was kissing her heatedly as he drove his cock deep inside her back passage and deposited his seed. She clung to him and he to her, their bodies melded as they shuddered and writhed against other until they were spent.

Julie eased the gusset of her panties back into place when Tommy finally withdrew his cock from her anus. She ripped a pillowcase off one of the pillows and wiped herself dry as best she could while Tommy lay back and stared at the ceiling, fully contented and amazed by what had just occurred. He tried not to think about Julie as a trans woman, just as a woman who had pleasured him beyond his wildest beliefs.

Julie lay in Tommy’s arms fully sated. The last time she had felt this way was when she and Gail Johnson were in a good place, before Gail had started hinting at marriage and children.

She turned on her side and lightly stroked the circular pockmarks on his chest and the long-healed silvery scars on his torso.

“Who was it?” Julie whispered.

Tommy lifted Julie’s arm to his face and he kissed the faint horizontal scars on her wrist.

“You first,” he replied, searching her face with his dark brown eyes.

Julie never spoke about it, not even with Gail but because she felt safe in Tommy’s arms and because he bore similar scars to her own she thought they might be kindred spirits.

“It was my first year in college. I was eighteen and was finally comfortable in my skin and with my transness. I didn’t go around waving the transgender flag but I didn’t hide who I was either,” Julie spoke softly.

“There were four of them. I went to a frat party and I had been drinking and one of them was cute and we started making out. I was still a virgin. The cute guy coaxed me up to his room and I was excited because up until then boys had been wary of me,” Julie’s voice became hoarse as she continued.

“I told you in the coffee shop that some men think because you're trans that you are promiscuous. I’m not making excuses for them by any means. No means no,” Julie sighed.

“It took all four of them to hold me down. I was tall and fit but they were all football players and I didn’t stand a chance. In the end I stopped fighting,” tears began to form in Julie’s eyes.

“They didn’t even undress me, none of them wanted to actually see my penis,” the tears in her eyes welled.

“They took turns. They pulled aside my panties and tore open my pantyhose used my anus and my mouth and I just lay there while they did it,” the tears flowed down Julie’s cheeks leaving black runnels of mascara.

“When I left the room it felt surreal. My makeup was ruined and my pantyhose were ripped but other than that I looked like a drunken party girl staggering downstairs from the dormitory, back to where the party was still in full swing,” Julie choked on the words.

“I saw the looks on the other partygoer’s faces: the boys looking knowingly at one and other and the girls looking at me with disgust. I was a trope: the tranny libertine, the tranny slut who gave it up at her first college party,” Julie choked back a sob.

“I didn’t report it. I knew what their defence would be. I was a slattern who gave it up after a couple of drinks and then cried wolf. I cut my wrists that night and woke up in hospital,” Julie began to regain her composure.

“Everyone, including my parents thought I was still having issues with my transgender identity. The rates vary from study to study but it’s estimated that forty percent of transgender women attempt suicide. I went back to my psychiatrist and I lied,” Julie sighed again.

“You're the first person I have ever told about the rape,” Julie gave him a wan smile, wiping the tears from her cheeks.

“That was when I decided that I would become a policewoman and bring men like those who raped me to justice,” Julie smiled weakly.

“Then I realised that I was good at being a cop. I made detective in record time and spent my first few years in sex crimes and vice, then I moved around and settled in homicide,” Julie had her emotions under control.

“The guys who raped you? What happened to them?” Tommy asked, knowing better than to offer Julie sympathy right now.

“One died in a car wreck. He was drunk behind the wheel. Two of them went on to become serial rapists but I got them eventually and they're still serving time. Not for what they did to me of course but I found justice for the other girls they had defiled. The other man is the CEO of a Fortune five-hundred company. I guess three out of four ain’t bad,” Julie actually chuckled at the irony.

“After the rape I did actually become promiscuous. I thought I could fuck my way out of my feelings of anger and worthlessness. Then when I joined the PD and became good at my job I channelled my anger and determination into work,” Julie sighed.

“Now I think you do have my life story Tommy Lomax,” Julie gave him a wan smile.

Tommy kissed her cheeks. He could taste the saltiness of her dried tears.

Julie rolled over and kissed Tommy deeply and passionately and she snuggled up to him and he held her close.

“My dad was a drunken asshole. Kids at school who came from single-parent families used to complain about it but I wished I was one of them. I wished my dad would leave me and my mom and never come back,” Tommy began.

“He delighted in torturing me for any perceived infraction. At first he used his fists but his fists left marks on my face, you can only have so many ‘I fell off the swing’ black eye stories,” Tommy said with little emotion.

“He figured out that using his belt on my back and buttocks still left marks but no one could see them. Then came the cigarette burns. I refused to cry and that only enraged him further,” Tommy fingered one of the circular scars on his chest.

“He’d start on my mom and I’d try and defend her, to deflect his rage onto me and most of the time it worked. He liked that I was a strong young man who he could beat his values into,” Tommy whispered.

“He’d laugh when I went to my mother and told her I was sorry if he beat her instead of me. He told me to man up that women belonged in the kitchen or the bedroom. At night I would hear him and my mother going at it. Hear her moan and encourage him to fuck her harder. How confusing was that?” Tommy gave a mirthless chuckle.

“I joined the marines straight out of high school. I volunteered for three rotations in the sand pit before I realised that the violence was becoming addictive,” Tommy said.

“I used my veteran’s scholarship to finish college and joined the police. I found the discipline and routine similar to the military and I was able to use my fists with some impunity provided I used them on the right people,” Tommy sighed.

“I hated that man but in some ways I became my father,” Tommy sounded a little choked.

“You're not your father Tommy. You’re not Jack Shepard either. You try to be, but the goodness inside you has won through,” Julie said gently.

“We’re a couple of sorry assholes crying about our past,” Tommy said with false bravado.

“Maybe we’re a couple of lost souls who found each other in the most unusual of circumstances,” Julie soothed him.

“Now make love to me again,” Julie slid under Tommy’s lean muscled body and locked her legs around him.

To be continued…



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