‘Carl, I’m standing you down.’
‘I’ll be okay in a couple days, Chief.’
‘Bullshit you will, Carl. I’ve been where you are. It’s not the same when it’s one of your own, and you don’t even have Wally to share the pain with. I want you to make an appointment with the psychologist. You need to process this now or you’ll never come back to work.’
Carl didn’t know what to say.
‘Are you still there, Carl?’
‘Do you have a number for that psychologist, Chief?’
‘I’ll get her to call you, Carl. She’s good.’
After ending the call with Chief Inspector Rankin, Carl was thinking about making breakfast and wondering how he was going to get through the day, when his front doorbell rang. He tried to ignore it but it rang again, several times. Someone knew he was home.
He opened the door to find Charlie Head and Jane Priest standing on the porch, holding several paper bags and three take-away coffee cups. Over their shoulders he could see their patrol car parked in the street.
‘Thought you might like some company for breakfast,’ said Jane. ‘It’s been one hell of a week.’
Carl stepped back and allowed them to enter his apartment.
‘You’ll have to excuse the mess,’ said Carl.
‘Doesn’t look that bad, Carl,’ said Jane. ‘Is your cleaning lady still coming around every week?’
Charlie unpacked breakfast, and pretended not to notice the level of intimate familiarity between his partner and the inspector, which confirmed the rumours he’d heard about their relationship. Charlie decided it was none of his business. He liked Jane, she was one of the better partners he’d had in recent years, and there was no way he was going to jeopardise their working relationship by asking awkward questions.
‘The chief inspector has ordered me to take some time off and get my shit together. How are you guys doing?’
‘At least we have each other to talk to about it,’ said Charlie.
‘Bit rough Sergeant Baker and Peter going together. That’s why we decided to drop in when we heard you hadn’t been in to work,’ said Jane.
‘Thanks, I’m glad you did.’
They spent half an hour, over breakfast, talking about the way things were, before the constables had to resume their shift.
‘I’ll call you later,’ said Jane, as they were leaving.
Carl knew the relationship was over, but was grateful she still cared enough to want to keep an eye on him while he was down and vulnerable.
to be continued …