Alice tried to remember who gave her the key, and shrugged. If the man who assaulted her didn’t leave it on her, then she was completely clueless. What bent Ali was the obvious question. How could the guy have left a key in her boot during the onslaught? She was shaken up from the attack, but she wasn’t amnesic. She knew she didn’t have the key before the big redhead fucking blitzkrieg’ed her in the alley.
“No Sir, not with any degree of certainty. It would just be speculation at this point. I was in plain clothes, so I don’t think he knew I was a cop.” she said.
She tossed the few pages the officer brought to the end of the hospital bed. Each yellow page had pictures of men in line-ups. Something to jog the memory.
“So no one sparks, anything, ehh?” He asked, deflated.
Ali shook her head. “And no offense Cap, but those six packs need a re-issue. One of those guys works narcotics vice out of Brooklyn.” Ali eyed the officer. So did the Captain. The officer dipped in on thin ice and scrambled up the papers on the bed. He stepped back, out of sight and hopefully out of mind during the conversation.
A shopkeeper happened to lock-up early. He passed by. He called the police. When the call came in with her ID, it alerted a few people she’d rather not involve.
She looked worse than she felt, but that was adrenalin and whatever pain medicine was pumping through the tube in her arm. EMT’s cleaned and patched up her face. He turned her to the wall. His fist pulled her hair back, roughly. She was eyes to the heaven’s and jaw to the brick. He licked her throat. Told her that she smelled good. She left that part out. She couldn’t do anything about her face, his bite, and that damn key.
“Well, no worries. Special victims will be here soon. We’ll get that bite flushed and hopefully get a hit on this bastard. You just take it easy. Take some time off. I’m not asking, either.” The Captain nodded. He looked over to a chair, off to the side, occupied by Ali’s partner, to back him up.
For the first time, Alex spoke up. “Hey Cap, no reason to kick this up to SVU. Can’t we handle this guy in house? I mean… she’s one of our own…”
Alex talked with his hands, his tone and demeanor gave him a style all his own. He had special touch in sticky situations. And he was good at fucking you over while he shook your hand.
The Captain listened to Alex, then immediately adopted the idea.
“Well, if you want a job done the right way, gotta do it yourself. And nobody does it better than us.” The Captain gave Alex a hard, militant nod. He offered Ali a bit more solace and headed out with his officer in tow.
Ali glanced over to Alex, “get that key.” She winced, pulling out her IV.
Alex gave Ali his coat. They spoke softly as he guided her through their hospital breakout. She was looking at the key. A skeleton key tied to a small, aged piece of red leather by a thread of suede.
Ali was so confused. She turned it over and over in her hands. Even smelling it gave her no clue as to it’s origins. They made it out and into Alex’s car, avoiding any poking and prodding from hospital staff and questions from fellow detectives.
Once they were in the car, the conversation changed.
“Is there any chance this has something to do with your….. yanno?” Alex had a hard time forming the question.
“No, Alex. Jesus. I just joined the site. Besides, it’s supposed to be very …” Ali dropped off.
“Very what? Kinky is one thing, but guys attacking you in an alley”
“Who said that it’s related?!”
“You said this group is ‘different,’ how so?” Alex asked, defiantly.
“I just heard that it was…. I don’t know. Rougher. Not like normal …groups,” Ali exhaled the words.
“This is bullshit. Partners for five years and you can’t tell me?”
“If I knew, Alex, I’d tell you. I really don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into here…. Can you just take me home?” Ali asked.
They drove in silence. Alex offered to walk her up to her apartment, but she insisted he head home. It was late. She buzzed in and opened her mailbox before heading up the two flights to her apartment. There was a note stuck to her front door.
“You have the key to my heart.
See who else is being Wicked this Wednesday.