Lemon Jam Chapter 5
I never ever felt like this before.
If you believe in a future when we’re together, I won’t let you down.
If you want to stay close, I’ll never let you down.
Cause we are ready to make it. Oh forever, that’s for sure.
Cause you are my angel. You saved me from danger.
With you I’m no stranger. I won’t suffer any more
If you’re ready to move on. Let life give you energy.
You keep me safe from darkness and you show me how to be a better man.
Cause we are ready to make it. Oh forever that’s for sure.
Angel, Broken Door
He watched as she strolled through the crowd. She walked, often ran, even paced at work, but dressed like that she strolled. And he loved the view. Looking around, too many others did too. That he didn’t care for. He checked the bill and peeled off enough cash to cover the charges plus a substantial tip. After the last 30 minutes of the hottest foreplay he’d ever had, he was definitely ready to go elsewhere and pick up where they had left off.
The voices from the couple a few booths over began to rise and Sam peeked outside the open curtain of his booth to see what was going on. A man was yelling at his wife who was cowering in the corner, clearly some sort of domestic dispute that was escalating. The waiter was agitated when the man had repeatedly refused to lower his voice.
Sam listened as the manager came to and discretely spoke to the man, telling them that they were disturbing the other customers and it was time for them to leave.
The man stood suddenly, grabbing the manager by the neck and from under his coat he produced a gun which was now against the manager’s head. “We are not leaving. This. Is. Our. Anniversary,” he said, emphasizing every word.
Sam stood up slowly from the booth and the man turned towards him.
“What are you doing? Stay back.”
“Hey man, I’m just lookin’ to talk. My name’s Sam. What’s yours?”
“Yeah, okay, sure. Your anniversary huh? How many years?” Sam spoke in his most calming voice, just like he had been trained.
The man paused and looked back as his wife still cringed in the corner. Without taking his eyes off her, he answered Sam, “Twenty years. Twenty years! And she wants to throw it all way! She says she doesn’t love me anymore.”
He took the gun and pointed it at his wife. “She loves someone else.”
Sam heard his wife whimper something that sounded like, “No, Ravi…”
The man was not listening. “We were meant to be together. You hear me Rachna? Together.” He aimed the gun at her, prepared to shoot. As he pulled the trigger, Sam dove at him, knocking him to the ground, but the bullet burned across his neck. He knew instantly it wasn’t a dangerous wound, probably wouldn’t even leave a scar, but it would bleed, and it did hurt. The man stood, aiming at Sam on the ground, definitely in stage red, becoming even more agitated by the screaming of the customers and the wailing of his wife nearby. “You shouldn’t have done that.”
Sam had his hands up as a gesture of submission. “Hey buddy, Ravi—that’s what your wife called you right? Twenty years is a long time. You don’t want to kill her, not after that long. If you kill her, that’s it. There’s no hope of ever being together again.”
“Get up and sit over there. You are not a part of this. Just shut up! I don’t want to hear from you anymore!”
“Hey yeah. I’ll just sit right here, okay?”
Jules heard the gunshot and the screams that followed in the restaurant and immediately snuck out the bathroom door to peek around the corner to see what was going on. She heard Sam talking to the man holding the gun pointed at him. She saw the blood creeping down his neck and onto his shirt. Shit, this is not happening again! Not tonight. She pulled back and leaned against the wall, pulling her phone out to text the SRU:
Within seconds, a text came from Winnie:
Screaming, the man lined up all the hostages up along the wall, leaving his wife and Sam on either side of a booth, his gun moving from one to the other. His wife was sobbing, even wailing at times. Sam watched as the man kept swinging the gun around, first to those he had lined up and then back to his wife and him.
“You know Ravi, it sounds like you really love your wife. That’s really special, not everyone gets that chance.”
“Have you ever been in love?”
“Yeah. I have Ravi. I’m in love with a great girl. How’d you know when you were in love?”
Sam’s comment about being in love didn’t escape her, but she was busy concentrating on the situation right now. They both needed to get out of here alive. Jules walked back into the room slowly, drawing the man’s attention, which also drew the gun towards her. Sam cursed internally, why didn’t she just stay back there…?
“Who are you?” The man screamed.
Jules stopped where she was and held up her hands. “My name is Jules. What’s yours? Ravi right?”
“Go stand over there, with the others!”
“Yeah, okay. I’ll go stand over there. What’s going on out here? Is that your wife? She’s really upset.”
“She wants a divorce. After twenty years, no! I will kill her first.”
A familiar voice came through the doors, Parker was here. She knew the team was there and Team 3 was backup. Cameras would be in soon, if they weren’t already there.
The sound of the police and police cars caused him to panic and the gun was once again pointed at his wife, and back to Sam. “You,” he motioned to Sam and then motioned to Jules. “Find something to tie this guy up.” Sam had already almost disarmed him once. He wasn’t going to give him another shot at it.
Jules looked at Sam nervously. “You don’t want to that, Ravi.”
“Okay, okay, I’m going to find something like you asked. I’ll just go right back there,” pointing to the back of the restaurant. “I’ll be right back. Just wait for me, okay?”
Jules went to the back looking for something that could help her and Sam when her phone beeped with a text from the Boss
Cams in front
So, they were coming in the back, and she needed to unlock the door. There was already a camera in the front watching. She looked up and sure enough, there were two earwigs dangling from an air shaft. She tugged them down and immediately put one in her ear where she could hear everything going on. They wouldn’t be able to hear her, but she could hear them. And Sam would be able to as well.
Jules gathered up duct tape, a small sharp knife, and unlocked the back door allowing Team 3, along with Ed and Spike to enter silently. Donna silently handed her a gun and inner thigh holster which she immediately raised her skirt and put on tightly. Given the circumstances, modesty and comfort weren’t high on her list. Fortunately the skirt’s sway hid whatever might have been seen to any observer. Spike showed her the flash bang grenades indicating they would be used as distraction and Ed was Sierra. She knew the plan. Jules motioned to the duct tape and placed the sharp knife she was going to give Sam inside her sleeve and left the team in the back room.
Jules returned slowly to the front, hands held high, holding the duct tape in front of her, the other hand empty. The man motioned for her to kneel at Sam’s feet, “Tie him up! Tight! Do it now!”
“Okay, Ravi. I’m wrapping the duct around Sam’s ankles now,” her voice was calm and she was sure to use both his name and Sam’s keeping connection and being sure to personalize Sam. It would make him less likely to kill him.
She wrapped his ankles, looking up at Sam’s face periodically, so Sam realized what she was doing. The duct tape looked tight from the side facing the gunman, but was actually quite loose along the back. Before she finished, she slipped the knife she had tucked in her sleeve out carefully and cut a slit along the back of the tape, making it possible for Sam to easily break open the tape and escape when he needed to.
Next were his hands. She did much the same with his hands, although these were tied behind his back. She placed the knife in his fingers and he positioned it so he could easily cut through the tape when the time came. Jules placed her hands on either side of his face, leaned over and kissed him, carefully inserting the earwig inside the ear facing away from the gunman. She heard Sarge’s whispered voice through the wig, “Brilliant, Jules.”
Ravi yelled at her again, and she released Sam and moved away slightly, watching Ravi’s wife. Rachna was finding it difficult to breathe. All the wailing and crying, the panicked attempts to suppress her sobs left her short of breath and hyperventilating.
Jules looked at the gunman and motioned to his wife, “Ravi, let me help your wife. She can’t breathe. She’s scared and can’t breathe. She’s going to pass out, maybe die. Does she have asthma? I can help her.”
“She deserves to die.”
Good to know about the asthma. They would need EMT’s ready.
“Then I need to help her. I need to get her to slow her breathing down. Please Ravi. I’ll just go sit behind her okay? I won’t get in your way.”
He paused, thinking about it, watching his wife’s pale, drawn face as she struggled for air. Without looking at Jules, he waved his gun, motioning her over to his wife. Jules climbed behind his wife, adjusting her skirt, and asked his wife to lean forward, breathing into the cloth napkin, trying to stop her from hyperventilating.
She began to talk softly to Rachna and rub her back soothingly helping her to take some deep breaths. As his wife began to calm, the man began to deescalate from red to yellow. Jules heard the countdown in her ear and she reached for the gun she had pushed between the seat cushions when she had sat behind his wife.
Sam heard the same countdown and from the corner of her eye, she saw him twitch imperceptibly when the duct tape tore loose.
“…4…3…2…1,”a flash bang went off near the gunman, lights and sound blasting through the room. Sam leaped from where he had been sitting on the seat across from the woman and threw himself over the woman and Jules, protecting them both as the team poured into the room and the subject began firing indiscriminately.
Some were yelling “On the ground! On the ground!” while hostages screamed and covered their ears from the noise and light, dropping to the ground as the armed SRU men and woman poured into the room.
Still others surrounded the subjected shouting “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!” The room was in a state of organized chaos, nothing the team hadn’t specifically orchestrated, but to the hostages and the gunman it looked and felt frightening.
The man had fallen when the grenade had gone off, the gun knocked out of his hand, and when he opened his eyes again, Ed and Spike had their rifles pointed directly into face. “Do. Not. Move.” Ed threatened. Ravi looked in his eyes and knew it was over.
Moments afterwards, Sam heard Parker’s voice over the com, “Incident contained, 11:32pm, subject in custody.” Everyone was going home today. It was a good day.
The EMT’s quickly took the woman named Rachna away, and Sam reached for Jules’ hand to help her disentangled herself from the awkward position she had found herself in the booth. She stood and shook her skirt loose, readjusting it, he watched the motion curiously.
He pursed his lips and nodded. “Just wondering where you were hiding that gun…” His eyes still hadn’t moved from her thighs and body.
Jules leaned into him, her body barely brushing against his, her lips close to his ear, “Inner thigh holster, soldier….”
Sam groaned and as he pulled her closer into his body, they heard Parker’s voice in their ears, “Saddle up Team 1 and 3, debrief 30 minutes. Sam, Jules, you too. Sam… EMT first.”
Jules’ head dropped into Sam’s chest as Sam swore softly. His arms gently ran down the length of her exposed back giving her goose bumps at his light touch. “This was not how I wanted tonight to end, Jules.”
She lifted her and grinned. “What? It’s our first date, Sam. A kiss at the door and good night, that’s it,” she teased.
“Not even a coffee, huh?”
He grabbed her coat at the door and helped her into it as they walked out the front. The teams were still cleaning things up and saw them walk out together laughing as she pulled the coat around her shoulders.
Jules walked with him to where the EMT’s were waiting. He was already tugging his sweater off and pulling his shirt from his pants. Given their activities an hour or so earlier, it was probably not a bad idea anyway if it was no longer tucked in.
Jules sat on the bench on the locker room holding her head in her hand, staring at the floor lost in thought. She’d changed into worn jeans and her black SRU t-shirt and adrenaline from the night was crashing her system. Her emotions had gone from nervousness, to passion to fear and then to cold professionalism. She didn’t have much left and there was still the debrief to face.
Donna came in and leaned against the sink, silently watching her. They had never been especially close, but they shared bond as the only two women in the SRU and knew what each other faced every day.
“You know, if there is anything we know from this job Jules is that every day could be our last. We just never know. And we love our job anyway. It’s all about risk. The only other person in the world who can truly understand that is someone else in the SRU. And sometimes we fall in love with that person.”
Jules raised her head, while Donna continued. “We don’t intend it, but it happens. Don’t give it up just because there might be resistance.”
Jules smiled as Donna, a genuine smile at her gift of support. She knew there might not be much when she walked into the debrief, but at least she had it here in this room.
Donna’s eyes started to twinkle as she reached into her pocket and pulled something out, “And I think these belong to you…” and she tossed a very wrinkled, torn piece of black material to Jules who caught it mid-air.
Jules sighed, “Oh, this just keeps getting better and better.”
Donna snorted and left the room, calling behind her, “Debrief starts in two minutes, better hurry.”
While they hadn’t planned it, Jules arrived just a few seconds behind Sam so she got the joy of hearing the catcalls and jokes. The room was crowded with both teams present and since Sam and Jules were major players in the debrief and had been ‘caught’ in a rather compromising situation the guys were going to give them a hard time.
Sam’s neck was bandaged although he’d refused to go to the hospital. He’d changed into a t-shirt and worn jeans, his typical after work attire and took his usual seat at the table. Jules joined him at the table, although at her seat on the other side and down a few chairs. They acknowledged each other but there was nothing else shared between them. They weren’t going to give anyone any more ammunition to use than they already had.
Donna came in shortly afterwards, the last of the two teams to join them. Jules appreciated the kindness, although she doubted anyone else realized what it was. She hadn’t wanted Jules and Sam to be the last ones in, another generous gesture on her part.
The group was still chatting, watching Jules and Sam who remained silent despite the attention they were attracting.
Steve from Team 3 spoke up louder than the others, throwing a question at Jules, “Gee Jules, why’d you change? That dress…well, it was… well, you looked hot… you should dress like that more often.”
Jules looked at him, her eyes cool, not moving and then looked back at Sarge her eyebrows raised, silently asking when they were going to get started. She didn’t even look at Sam, but hoped he hadn’t done anything either. If Steve was going to be a jerk, Sam and Jules didn’t need to stoop to his level.
Sarge just frowned at Steve and began the debrief. “Jules, Sam. You were there when the incident began. Sam, tell us what happened.”
Sam calmly began to outline exactly what happened for the record. What had been said, what action he had taken, what actions the subject had taken, what the results had been.
As the time approached the point in time when Jules’ role became central, she took over the story. She spoke the same as Sam, professional, outlining exactly what was required for the record, exactly what would have been recorded for the transcript. The camera would have recorded what was happening and what was being said once it was in place, but until that point it was up to her and Sam to act as the transcriptionists.
Steve spoke up again, asking, rather snidely about where Jules had hidden the gun she had brought with her into the main room. He knew perfectly well, he’d been there when Donna had handed it to her, when she had put it on and adjusted it, her back to him. He was once again baiting her, baiting Sam. And once again neither of them rose to the bait.
Without looking at Steve, or even acknowledging his question, Jules continued with her description of what happened and when she was done, Sarge congratulated her, and both teams on their coordination working together and getting everyone out alive and safe.
He dismissed everyone asking Jules, Sam, Steve, and Donna to remain behind. Ed remained behind as well. After everyone was gone, nervously watching behind them as Parker lowered the large door behind him.
Ed walked to Steve, promptly slamming him into the wall, his arm against his throat. “The next time you speak to one of my team members with the disrespect you have shown here today, I will personally see to it you are discharged from the SRU and kicked to duty on the traffic squad. Do. You.Get. Me.?”
Steve managed to barely express a grunt of agreement before Ed released his windpipe and drop him from the wall. “Your behavior today towards Constables Callaghan and Braddock was beyond unacceptable and the only reason you are allowed to walk out of here without being discharged on the spot is because we are willing to give you the opportunity to make this right with the two of them. And by make this right, we mean make it right as defined by them, not by myself, Sgt. Parker, or your Commanding Officer Donna Sabine.
Parker added, “Your behavior today has been childish and unbecoming of an officer of the SRU. I suggest you start immediately to make this situation right in the eyes of those most aggrieved by your actions today, as well as those who had to suffer through or observe them, as in everyone else in the room. We will be watching. Donna, you are responsible for seeing that Constable Goodwin follows orders or is discharged accordingly within a reasonable time frame.
Ed said coldly, “A reasonable time frame not being very long.”
Steve face went very pale and he nodded, “Yes, sir.”
Donna nodded her head sharply, “Is that all sir?”
“You may leave. Oh and Donna? Great job today. Team 3 handle the situation admirably. Thank you very much.”
“Yes, sir.” She and Steve left the room stiffly.
Sam and Jules remained in the room waiting for whatever was coming for them next, unsure of what direction this conversation would take.
Ed started, “Sam, I would like to note how pleased I was at how far you have come from when you first joined Team 1. Handling tactical situations was never a real challenge for you, but talking directly to a subject was and you handled that situation admirably. In addition, you and Jules together worked together seamlessly as a team as you usually do in a situation rife with challenges with little to no support from the team with lifesaving outcomes. Another huge step forward for you. “
“However, perhaps the biggest strength that I have seen you develop has been your ability to control your temper. Steve was, for reasons we won’t try to understand right now, intentionally trying to bait you, and Jules, but primarily you into a confrontation in front of both teams. Instead of rising to his bait, and confronting him either verbally, or worse physically, you never even twitched a muscle. A few years ago, you wouldn’t have done that. I’m impressed.”
“Thank you sir.”
Jules looked up at Sam, her eyes shining with pride but she didn’t say anything.
Parker picked up the conversation. “So, everyone knows the two of you were on a date, apparently an important date. We don’t need to know more than that. We’ll have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. When you drive onto the parking lot, in separate cars of course, you are Constable Braddock and Callaghan. You are completely focused on work and professionals. I don’t care what is going on at home, the good, the bad, or the ugly. Deal with at home, and leave it at the gate. Your head stays in the game. If you can’t keep it in the game, then one of you has to go. When you drive out of the gate, you can go back to being Jules and Sam.”
“When we are out drinking beers after work, or bar-b-ques or whatever we might be doing when the team is there and we are not on the clock and not in the building, you can be yourselves. Don’t be late to work, even by a minute. Any questions?”
Jules and Sam looked at each other and back at Parker and Ed. “No Boss. Got it.”
“Good. Back here in 5 ½ hours. Get some sleep. Don’t be late.”
Sam looked across the seat at a sleeping Jules leaning against the truck door. Within five minutes of pulling out of HQ, she was sound asleep. She woke up when the car stopped in her driveway.
“Come on, I’ll get you inside Jules and you can go to sleep, okay?” Sam said softly. She was so tired. They were both tired.
“Do you have your ‘go’ bag?” she asked, blankly staring at her back door.
Sam shrugged his shoulders, not knowing where she was going with her question. “Yeah. Why?”
“Good. Then let’s go to sleep.”
“You’re asking me to stay?”
“Sam,” she looked at the glowing clock on the dashboard, and then looked at him, “we now have to be at work in 4 hours and 55 minutes. You stay here, you get about 4 hours and 30 minutes of sleep. You go to your apartment, it’s more like four hours.”
“I’m really tired Jules…” his voice drifted off, the implication clear that he was not up for picking up where they unfortunately had to leave off at the restaurant.
“Trust me Sam. My plan… shower and sleep. That’s it.”
He could barely lift his head to nod and got out of the truck, getting his go bag from the trunk as she walked to the door. He was right behind her when she went inside, and she just kept walking without turning on any lights. She even ignored the alarm.
“Your birthday,” and kept walking in the dark to the bedroom.
Sam smirked at that when he heard her call out from down the hallway, “Don’t let it go to your head, soldier.”
Sam grinned and whispered under his breath as he turned the deadbolt behind him, “My birthday.”
His heart sunk a little when he walked into her bedroom and found her pushing piles of clothes onto the floor. He watched as she used her foot to carve a path between the scattered clothes and shoes and the bed so they didn’t trip in the night. Then she headed for the bathroom calling the shower first. He watched as she stripped off her t-shirt and dropped it on the floor behind her. Another night, that would have been an invitation, but tonight, it was just a sign of how tired she really was. That he didn’t bother to comment on it was a sign of how tired he was.
He heard the water go on, and started to pick up some of the clothes, hanging the ones he could find hangers for and folding the others. Her apartment might be clean, but she wasn’t tidy. He pulled the comforter and sheets back, and went through the darkened house to get a couple large glasses of water. By the time he got back, Jules was asleep on what he guessed was her side of the bed. He left the water for her on the nightstand and began to strip down as he made his own way to the shower.
The alarm went off the next morning, waking him up to traffic, news, and weather…
Why was his neighbor talking so loud? It was way too early in the morning. Sam pulled a pillow over his head and was immediately surrounded by lilacs and orchids…Jules!
Under the pillow his eyes popped open and he peeked out under a corner, wondering if he was dreaming and he’d find himself in his own apartment. Nope, this was definitely not his apartment.
He looked out from under the other corner of the pillow to see if Jules was still asleep next to him. She was gone. His frustrated fists hit the pillow… she’s left already. Then he heard the grinding whir of a blender somewhere in the neighborhood of the kitchen. Sam sat straight up in bed, a goofy smile on his face.
She didn’t turned around as he’d taken a position leaning against the counter watching her make a second smoothie but she knew he was there. “Breakfast, sleepyhead?”
“Hmm, hmm…” Sam answered, distractedly.
Jules looked over her shoulder and saw him staring at her back and lowered her head so her eyes finally made contact with his. “What is so fascinating?”
Sam came behind her, circling one arm around her waist pulling her against him while his hand was free to trace the tattoo between her hips. “I just love this tat. How did I never see this before?”
Pressed against him, she could tell just how much he ‘loved’ the tattoo and smirked at him over her shoulder, handing him a smoothie. “For your eyes only, Sam. And, we have 35 minutes to get to work, get a grip,” as she pushed away from him and headed out of the kitchen.
Sam groaned as she left him standing in the kitchen holding the smoothie. He followed her sipping his breakfast while she was grabbing a jacket and sliding it on.
“So, about this week?” he asked.
“Will I, will we…” he hesitated.
She narrowed her eyes at him, taking a measure of him, thinking something out before answering his unasked question.
“We have 6 days in a row on shift, 12+ hours each day,” she stated, as she walked towards him, causing him to walk backwards against the wall.
“Yeah,” Sam was thinking the answer was definitely going to be a ‘no’ they were not going to see each other this week.
He was up against the wall, and she was standing in front of him looking up at his much taller frame. “We have to eat, we have to sleep, and assuming there is time between those two things, we can spend it together. So I would propose the following…,” Sam was all ears. He’d agree to anything she wanted at this point.
“We get off work, come here, fix dinner. Hang out, watch a movie, play a game, whatever. Sleep. And Sam? That means sleep. If you can’t do that, if we can’t do that, than you have to go home. When our tour is up, and we get our three days off, only then do we pick up where we left of last night.”
“Okay, okay, fine, but why are we waiting?”
Jules raised herself on her toes, bringing her mouth to his, pressing her body against his, feeling his spring to life again as his mouth opened to hers and they kissed as they had the night before and he wrapped his arm around her waist.
Then almost as quickly as she’d started she pulled away, “Because I want all the time we can get, and right now, we have 24 minutes to get to work. Let’s go. Set the alarm on the way out.”
Sam banged his head against the wall twice in frustration, trying to clear it before he pushed himself away and followed her out the door. This was going to be a very long six days.