Placing his hands against the wall, Jesse let his eyes wander out the window and toward the sky. “It was the only way,” he whispered. “Baby girl, it was the only way.”
Tad looked toward his friend and sighed. “What do we do now?” he heard Jacob ask. Glancing over to his left where Jacob sat, Tad nodded toward the clock on the wall and said. “Now, we wait.”
“You think he’s going to—“
“He has to,” Jesse interrupted. “This has to work. Because Frank… I’m running out of options and we’re running out of time. It’s a chance that time has already run out, but I have to keep believing it hasn’t. I have to keep in mind that this has to have a better ending. It has too,” he rambled, now resting his forehead against the wall. “It has to work. Because if it doesn’t… I don’t think I can–”
“It will,” Tad jumped in, coming to his feet and walking toward his grief stricken best friend. “It will work, Jesse.”
After a few moments Jesse opened his eyes and looked over at his friend. “You can back out anytime you know. All of you can back out right now. You just say the word and I promise I won’t hold anything against you. This is risky and I don’t want either of you to be harmed by any of this. This is my task, my mess that I have to clean up… I would really understand if you wanted to back out.”
Frankie smirked and went to join the two. “Retreat… Hell.”
The older men looked at him with their brows raised, leading Frankie to chuckle. “Back in Iraq, when things started looking like it wasn’t going to end good and our platoon leader would say retreat and we all looked at him like, retreat? Hell we just got started,” he explained.
A small smile appeared on Jesse’s face as the words set in. “Retreat hell, eh? Alright son… Thank you,” he sighed, turning and looking at each man who were now involved. “Thank you all.”
Tad patted his friend on the shoulder. “No thanks needed. As much as you and Angela have done for all of us this is just a small token of how much we truly owe you. Trust me.”
“He’s right pops.”
Jacob smirked and looked around. “I don’t owe you anything so… Yep.”
Frankie scoffed. “Thanks for ruining the moment Jacob,” he said with a chuckle.
“Jacob’s middle name is ruin,” Jesse joked, cutting his cousin a look. It was the first time since all of this stuff went down that a smile appeared on his face. And if things went the right way that smile would be permanent.
“Alright, so you say a man who appeared to be either African American or a mixture of different races came out of the house next door… with a baby. Correct?”
“Yes sir. Look I know it sounds crazy and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would think the same thing, but it’s true. A young man walked out of the door with something tucked under his arm and then this towel or sheet fell and that’s when we saw the baby.”
“And he’s the same young man I saw jumping my fence just minutes before,” Caroline added.
The officer who answered their call stood in the middle of the living room writing in his notepad. “I need to ask you a few more questions… Have you ever seen this man before? Before now I mean?”
Caroline went to shake her head but stopped and gasped. “He… He was there a few days ago! I was rushing out to do something and as I was getting into the car I saw him running out of the house,” she explained and then slapped her forehead. “I can’t believe I let that slip my mind.”
“You said earlier nobody lives there. How long has it been since that house was occupied by anybody?”
Seeing his wife was in another world, Arthur stepped up. “It’s been years. The family that once lived there, left a couple of months after the man of the house passed. Every since then the house has been just sitting there.”
“Has there been anybody scoping around? Real estate agents, perspective buyers, drug dealers? Anybody out of the ordinary?”
“Well a few months ago a man by the name of Dr. Maurice or Maury or Morris… Something, I can’t remember. Uh, we were coming in from church when we saw a man looking in the windows. My wife and I asked if everything was alright and he said he was new to the area and was looking for a nice sized house. He also said something about taking up a job at St. Michaels or Pine Valley Hospital. He was just waiting on the call,” Arthur explained. “But we haven’t seen him since then. We figured he found him another place. Maybe a better one. That house there needs a lot of work done to it. I do believe that’s one of the reasons nobody has moved in yet.”
The cop nodded and kept writing. “Okay,” he continued after a few minutes of making more notes. “Well right now my guys are next door checking things out and soon we—“
“Boss,” another cop, a younger one called as he walked through the front door and removed his hat. “You may want to come next door and check this out, sir.”
“What is it?” Senior Officer Dean asked, looking up.
The young man took a deep breath and cleared his throat. “Well there… Just… Just come check it out,” he urged not wanting to repeat his findings in front of the older couple. It was disturbing to began to with anyway.
Dean nodded and looked back at the older couple. “I will get back with you in just a few minutes… Officer Kirkland, please stay with them until I return.” And with that Dean walked out and trotted next door. As he was making his way onto the porch he heard someone speaking on one of the patrol car’s radio and then finally took notice to the sirens in the distance. “What the hell?” He huffed, turning and heading to the patrol car. “Dispatch, what’s going on?”
“Got a call about a baby.”
“My team and I have answered the call. We’re out at the house now checking the perimeter.”
The dispatcher made a clicking noise. “You answered one of the calls pertaining to a baby. A man called saying he found a baby.”
“Where?” Dean asked, getting out of car and looking around.
“A few blocks away from where you all are,” she replied. “The call came in exactly five minutes after the call you and your guys answered.”
“Boss! You coming?” Another officer called from the supposing abandoned home.
Dean glanced back, nodded and turned to look back down the street. “Tell them to give you a description and get back with me. ASAP,” he ordered and then seconds later dropped the radio and rushed into the house. “What?” He called tracking through the house like a stealth cat.
One of the other two other officers looked back and shook his head. “Somebody’s been here sir. Living here. And with a baby,” he reported.
“And we don’t believe it was just any baby… We may have found where Baby Hubbard has been this whole time,”one of them reported and then pointed to the wall next to the boarded up window.
There on the wall were many pictures of Chief Hubbard and his wife. One of them exiting the hospital, another one of them exiting a restaurant and another one of them in the throes of passion. And so many more. The shots were so good that it made Dean’s skin crawl to know that this man was close, within touching distance of this couple and they didn’t even know it. “Oh my goodness,” he grumbled. He then stepped up to the makeshift shrine and picked up two ultrasounds, “That son of a bitch!” He snarled.
“That’s not all. We found these too.” The other announced giving him a evidence bag.
Dean turned and taking the bag he raised it up to get a better look. “Is this… lingerie?”
“Yes sir… Uh… We found them folded up in a Ziploc bag, stashed in the dresser.”
“That sick bastard!” Dean fussed. “Call the ch—No… Dammit, don’t do that,” he sighed. “He’s dealing with enough shit as it is already. Telling him this will only screw up his mind.”
“So what do you want us to do?”
Dean turned back to the shrine and snarled. “Call Perry. He’s acting as Chief at the moment. Let him know what we found and that there’s a possibility Baby Hubbard is still in the area.”
One of the cops frowned. “What makes you believe she’s still in the area? Whoever the man was that they saw could be miles away by now.”
“Dispatch got a call just minutes after the one we answered about a baby being found. There’s a unit some blocks down. I’m on my way to check it out. Meantime anything come up let me know.” And with that Dean stalked out of the house and back to the neighbors. “Sir… I was wondering if you would be able to identify the man you saw earlier?”
Arthur stalled and looked to his wife. “She would be able to identify him a hell of a lot better than I can.”
“Okay… Ma’am, do you feel comfortable enough to come with me to identify the man?”
“I… Well I don’t mind, but I…” She sighed and looked away.
“I can assure you he will not see you. And as soon as you identify him for me, I will have my officer bring you right back. See there’s a unit right up the street answering a call about a baby being found and it came in not long after the call you made to us. I may be wrong, but I have a strong feeling this is the guy, but I really need for you to confirm it.”
Caroline looked up at him and then glanced up at her husband. “Can Arthur come as well? I’m more than 100 percent sure you will protect me from any harm but I…”
Dean placed a strong but gentle hand on the woman’s fragile shoulder and gave her a comforting smile. “It’s be no problem at all.”
Ace had been a ball of nerves since he climbed through the window and they only got worse when he told the lady of his whereabouts and of his problem. And when the ambulance finally arrived his nerves were only fueled. “Please, be careful,” he begged, watching as they laid her on the gurney and worked on her right there on the sidewalk.
“Sir, I’m going to need you to back up. We got it from here,” one of the EMT’s instructed holding out his hand. “Please.”
Ace took a step back but still looked over the man’s shoulder to see about the baby. So in to what was happening he hadn’t noticed that people were starting to crowd up behind him nor that the cops on the scene were eyeing him closely and one was even walking towards him.
“Okay, we’re taking her to St. Michael’s. Let’s go!”
“Okay,” Ace mumbled, going to climb into the back of the ambulance to be with her.
“Where do you think you’re going?” One of the EMT’s asked, pulling on his shirt.
“I’m going with you. I found her and I need… I need to know if she’s going to be alright.”
“Not so fast son.” Somebody stalked up behind him. “We need to ask you a couple of questions.”
Ace turned to see a cop giving him an accusing stare. He wasn’t stupid! He’d been giving that look many times before. “Look, I’ll answer whatever questions you want after I make sure she’s okay. Give me that please.”
“No can do,” he said smugly, pulling him towards one of the squad cars.
Dean had arrived on the scene just as they started to load the baby into the ambulance. Before he got out he looked back at Caroline who nodded vigorously and placed a shaky hand over her pacing heart. “That’s him. That’s the guy.”
“Ma’am I need you to be 100 percent sure about this. False accusations are—“
“That him,” she assured looking to the front seat and fixing him with a look. “I saw him running of that house a few days ago. I saw him jump my fence earlier and I saw him come out of that house.”
“Okay,” Dean said giving her a nod and seconds later climbing out all the while slipping his shades on. When he made it over to the guy and another officer he tapped his shoulder and gestured to let him handle it.
The cop moved to the side. “He’s all yours,” he smirked.
Dean winked and stepped closer to Ace. “You’re slick,” he chuckled. “Real slick.”
And before Ace could blink even speak, the big man grabbed his arm, twisted him around to where he laid face down on the car and jerked both arms behind his back.
“You’re under arrest.”
“What!? What the hell for?! For saving a damn life!?” Ace fussed, trying to fight him off only to have this big hulk looking dude slam him back down. “Man, come on this shit is unnecessary!”
“You have the right to remain silent! Anything you do or say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you can not afford one, one will be appointed to you.”
“I didn’t do anything! I swear man! I swear!” Ace yelled.
Snatching his glasses off and leaning down, Dean whispered in his ear. “I find kidnapping the Chief’s daughter a hell of a lot more than doing nothing son. You better hope the guy processing you doesn’t leave you alone in the cells tonight. Can’t promise you you’ll wake in the morning. You sick twisted bastard!” he hissed. “Let’s go punk!”
“Man, this is… I didn’t do anything!” Ace continued to say. “Call my wife she’ll…She’ll tell you!”
“Shut up!” The cop hissed, nudging him and roughly putting him into the back of a patrol car.
Before Ace could continue fussing the door slammed in his face and the cop walked off. “All I did was save her life,” he sighed, resting his forehead against the cool glass. “I just saved her life.”
Walking back over to Kirkland and the older couple, he leaned into the window and shook their hands. “Thank you both for your cooperation.”
“Where are they taking her? I mean I know I’m not family, but I really need to know if she’s going to be okay. I feel like I need to be with her,” Caroline said softly on the verge of tears.
“I’m not usually allowed to give away such information, but because… well you know. I’ll have Kirkland take you to her.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
Dean gave the older lady a wink before pulling back and squeezing the officer’s shoulder.
Perry eased through the crowd of people that had begun to form in front of PVH and walked inside. “Where’s Chief Hubbard?” He asked one of the cops they had placed by the door.
“He’s down the hall.”
Nodding, Perry walked off and headed toward the way of Mrs. Hubbard’s room .
“Perry,” someone hissed from behind.
Perry whipped around and spotted Tad gesturing for him to come back. Looking around Perry headed back with caution. “What’s going on? When I left here Mrs. Hubbard was fine and now… now… Why in the hell didn’t you call me? Where’s Jesse?”
“In here,” Jesse called from the other side of the door. “What’s going on out there?”
Perry sighed. “It’s chaotic. People are outside trying to get in and find out more. Mostly reporters. Jesse, how? Why? I thought she was okay. I mean what changed from the moment I left here to the moment she d… well… You know,” he asked softly and fearfully.
“Nothing,” Jesse sighed.
“Nothing. Jesse, unless I’m missing something, your wife dying is a hell of a lot more than nothing,” Perry fussed, wondering to himself why Jesse appeared calm. Too damn calm for a man whom just lost his wife and possibly his child.
“Perry, relax,” Tad warned.
“Relax?! You’re really going to tell me to relax.”
“Dammit Perry, will you shut up and listen!” Jesse fussed. “I ran out of options and doing this… doing this was the only way. Angie knows I did this for a reason. She knows it… I had to do this in order to save my baby girl.” Jesse started rambling yet again and this time it sounded scary as hell. All Perry could do was stare at the four men assembled with disbelief.
“Chief… What did you do?” He finally asked fearfully.
The crushing feeling in his chest became worse as he made his way toward PVH. Kevin couldn’t believe what the news people said. He couldn’t because then that would mean…
“You’re the reason… You’re the reason she’s dead, you pathetic excuse of a human being!”
Gripping the steering wheel Kevin started to shaking his head. Shake the voices from his head. “Shut up! Shut up!” He shouted. “Just shut the hell up!”
“Okay, let me get this straight… The guy that attacked you was a doctor but you’ve never seen him?”
“Yes. I’ve been working here for ten years and I have never once seen him or heard his name,” the woman whose name was Verna Hollis explained.
After the guy saw the news report he all but went crazy and tore out of there like the place was on fire. Some of ordly’s who’d been around after he threw her to the floor went after him but had no luck in catching him, but by then the police had been notified.
“Can you tell me his name?”
Verna came out of her trance and searched her brain. “If I can recall he said his name was Dr. Morrison. I could be wrong, but I—“
“Do you think you can give me a description of this guy?” The cop interrupted upon hearing that name. Earlier many of the uniformed officials had been asked to keep an eye out for a guy named Kevin Starks who was possibly going by the name of Samuel Morrison.
“Not necessary Luke. We have him on surveillance,” somebody else interrupted. “We pulled the security footage.”
“Incoming!!!” Somebody yelled, before dashing past them, just barely missing Verna who’d been pulled away by one of the cops just in time.
“What’s happening?” Luke asked, catching one of the trailing officers by the arm.
“Earlier we got a call about a newborn being found and needing medical attention. Baby girl looks to be only a couple of days old…” After letting his eyes sweep the hospital he turned back and continued in a whisper, “We believe it’s… Baby Hubbard”
A/N: So Baby Hubbard is finally out of danger! Now, the real concern here is… What did Jesse do to Angie? I mean really?! Is anybody else a little worried about the decision he made?