Although he’d delivered bad news to the parents of murder victims, this was the first time he’d be telling the wife of a colleague that her husband had been killed on the job. Carl had no idea how he was going to tell Janice but he knew he had to tell her himself. He knew he couldn’t just send her a message or a messenger.
Janice opened the door, with twelve month old Jackson in her arms and three-year old Liam attached to her leg, and took in the scene of her husband’s boss and a woman she did not know standing on her porch.
‘What’s happened? Where’s Peter?’
‘There’s been an incident at work, Janice,’ said Carl. ‘We need to come in.’
Sue closed the door behind her as she followed Carl into the house.
Janice led them into a family room strewn with toys and stuffed animals, and sat on the sofa.
Carl surveyed the familiar scene of domestic chaos he had become accustomed to encountering in the James’ house, and sat next to her.
‘Is he hurt?’
Carl took a deep breath and took hold of Janice’s hand. ‘There’s no easy way to say this, Janice. Peter’s been shot. He’s dead.’
Sue Gordon put her arms out for Jackson.
Janice released him to her, and Sue took Jackson for a walk around the house.
Liam climbed into Carl’s lap. ‘Where’s Daddy?’
‘Daddy’s still at work,’ said Janice.
Liam squirmed out of Carl’s lap and went to play with his toys on the floor behind the sofa.
‘What happened?’ said Janice.
‘Remember that rape case we’ve been working on?’
‘We went to interview a suspect this afternoon. He fired a shotgun through the door when we knocked.’
‘I hope you shot the bastard.’
‘I did, but it doesn’t help.’
Sue came back into the room with Jackson to find Carl and Janice holding onto each other in tears.
‘I’ll make some tea,’ said Sue.
to be continued …