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Chapter 18

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    "Okay, let me get this straight." Denton looked at the men he'd started thinking of as Martin's gang, plus his father. "You took all the evidence away from the police, and you have no way to process it?" They were in the living room and Bruce had been the last one to arrive from his work, at the bank.
      Denton had gone over some of his thoughts on how they should handle emergencies over the rest of the afternoon, and had started quizzing Maximilian as they moved to the living room, on how they ran their own investigations.
      In short, they didn't.
      "I don't believe that," Denton laughed. "You guy are actually planning on praying for answers."
      "Of course not," Martin said, offended.
      "Then what are you going to do with the DNA that was collected at the Lewiston's house? The finger prints? You just told me you don't have a lab to run that."
      "There's a bunch of private lab offering to do DNA typing." Bruce offered, he'd just chucked his clothes and sat next to Colby.
      "And how are you going to get it matched against the DNA in any of the criminal database?"
      That stumped them.
      Denton looked at Maximilian. "What did you do when my family was murdered?"
      "We, ahhhh... you have to understand, a few month after the fire, there weren't any Stenton left alive, and the guy killing them just vanished."
      "So you knew who it was?"
      "No, but there wasn't any other death, we checked with all the families."
      Denton leaned back in his seat and sighed. "So you just counted your blessings. I can't believe this. Okay, where are the investigation files. I'm guessing you took them from the police back then too."
      "Alistair did. He was the one in charge of dealing with the law. I don't know what he did with it."
      "Wait, Alistair Lewiston was in charge of the police? What was your job?"
      "Finances," Martin answered.
      "We Manage our and the Lewiston fortune," Maximilian added.
      "So, you don't normally pass yourself off as the FBI and steal police files?"
      "Sure we do," Colby said. "Most of the Lewistons live outside the city, so when he needed someone to get files, we'd go for him."
      "But you didn't make those decisions."
      "No, Stuart was in charge of that," Maximilian replied.
      Stuart was Alistair's son, if Denton remembered the file correctly. "So, basically, you have no idea how to go about this."
      Blank and embarrassed stare met his. Maximilian was the only neutral one.
      "Alright. the first thing you need to do is give the files back to the police."
      "We can't do that," Martin stated. "If they look too deep, they might figure things out they have no business knowing."
      "Not to say what the church might do with that information," Fred added.
      "Look, we need it to be processed. Forget about him being after me, you have all the Lewistons in danger. We have to stop him, and for that we need to know what the evidence says."
      "We can find some specialists," Martin offered. "Basically setup our own forensic lab."
      "How long will that take?" Denton asked. "We're running against the clock, someone else might die before it's up and running and then you have to think of the processing time. This isn't TV. Even today were looking at a minimum of two days to get results from a DNA search, and one for finger prints. The police are equipped, and that's what they get paid for."
      "No, I have to agree with my son. We can't risk what the police might uncover if they dig too deep."
      Denton threw himself off the couch with a growl and started pacing. People and they damn secrets. this was how things got from bad to worse. "Alright. We don't give the police the evidence. All we give up is the finger prints and DNA. that should give us a starting point. You can start your damn forensic labs in the meantime."
      Denton glared at Maximilian. "You have got to be fucking kidding me. People are going to die. Haven't I repeated that often enough?"
      "We can't have anything relating to the Society just floating around, even something like fingerprints. It's too dangerous for us. The church isn't actively hunting us anymore, but there's no telling what they would do given the chance."
      "Fine! one person. We give it to my partner. She'll get it processed on the down low, and give me the results back."
      "I don't think that's a good idea," Frank said. "She's a cop."
      "Oh, for fuck's sake, so am I."
      "That's different," the lion said, "you're one of us."
      "Fine, then let me get back to work and I can take care of this."
      "No. we can't put your life in danger," Martin stated.
      "Come on, I'm a cop. putting my life in danger is what I do."
      "If you weren't the last Stenton, I might consider it. as it is, no."
      Denton turn to Maximilian, who'd remain quiet through all this. "You're the boss, why aren't you saying anything?"
      The cougar leaned back, looking like he was at a sports game, except for being naked. And it hit Denton that everyone was naked, but there wasn't anything sexual in the air. The closest were the lions, with Fred leaning on their couch, head resting on his brother's lap, but all Denton read from them was affection. If everyone was dressed the atmosphere would be exactly the same.
      "Because it's good experience for Martin, for when he's an Elder"
      Denton groaned.
      "But," Maximilian continued, "I'm going to intervene here. The states are too high. Sorry son."
      "S'okay dad. I'm out of my depth."
      "There's nothing wrong with asking for help, Martin, remember that. And remember to listen to what's being said." Maximilian leaned forward. "Dent's right, too many lives are at stakes, but you're also right, we have to be careful. Denton, how certain are you that you can trust her?"
      "She's been my partner for six years. If I ask her to keep this to herself, she will."
      Maximilian nodded. "Alright. What do you think we should give her access to?"
      "Ideally? everything. But if you want to avoid having the information spread around, we need to stick to the minimum. That's the DNA and finger prints. From what we saw at the crime scene, the killer isn't a pro, so he's going to have left something."
      "How are you going to explain that you're not dead?" Fred asked.
      Denton sat back down, exhausted. "I'll figure out something." He realized something. "Actually if you'll let me call someone else, I can make it pretty solid sounding. I know someone at the local office of the FBI. He'll cover for me without too many questions."
      Martin shook his head. "We can't risk that. I'm sorry Dent, but I'm already not happy about involving someone outside the Society. I get we have to, but I don't like it. Two, both of them in law enforcement is asking for too many complication."
      Denton didn't look at Maximilian for support, he'd intervened once already, this was Martin's show. And he was right. As much as he trusted Zee to have his back, he'd almost certainly try to find out what was going on.
      "Okay, Just Alice." He looked around for a clock, six thirty. "If she didn't get a call, she should just be finishing dinner. I'm going to go call her."
      "I'll prep food," Colby offered, standing up.
      Denton went to his room and unclipped his phone. He had a chuckle as he realized he hadn't worn anything in almost five days now. He dialed her cell.
      "Cooper," She answered on the first ring.
      "Alice, it's Denton."
      There was a very long silence.
      "Who's this?" her tone was frosty. She hadn't had enough time to get on her home line to ask for a trace, so he didn't have to rush too much.
      "I told you. It's Denton."
      "Listen to me vermin. I don't know where you found that phone, but I swear to you, if you don't turn it in before morning I will hunt you down and make your life miserable."
      "Wow, Cooper, I knew you cared, but isn't that a little extreme. Won't Jack be jealous."
      "Alright, this isn't funny. you better tell me who you are before I get a trace going."
      Denton sighed loudly. "Fine, how about I talk about the fact that you don't know what dried cum smells like, which I have a hard time believing. I mean, I know you're both rabbits, but you're a cop, there's absolutely no way Jack doesn't have to resort to jerking off every so often."
      Another long silence.
      "Yes, Alice. It's me."
      "Oh my God! Where are you? what happened? everyone thinks you burned in the fire."
      "I know. I'm sorry about that, but I used that to go into hiding."
      "Dent, what happened?"
      He took a breath and ordered his mind. He had to be careful, Alice was a good investigator. "The captain told me to stop looking into the Lewiston murders, but I didn't."
      "I figured out as much when you kept going your own way."
      "Sorry. I stumbled over something, and I'm pretty sure the murderer's after me now."
      "What? you have to come in, you can't stay out in the cold."
      "No, I can't. Right now the killer thinks I'm dead. If I resurface he's going to come after me again. He was willing to kill my folks to get to me, I'm not putting anyone else in danger."
      "Damn it Brislow, You're not a Movie hero. That isn't how this work and you know it. You come in and we'll protect you."
      Denton couldn't help laughing. "Alice. you know as well as I do that the 'protection' would consist of stashing me in a motel somewhere, putting a few guys on me, with my luck it'd be Reilly and Flint, and hoping no one found out. We're stretch thin as is it. The safest thing for everyone is for me to stay hidden until I figure things out."
      "Fine," she sighed. "At least tell me what you found, I can pass it along to the Feds."
      "That's part of the problem. I think the killer has a contact at the FBI."
      "Why do you think that?" she asked, guardedly.
      "Because he came after me after I got my hands on the DNA and finger prints from the house."
      She gasped. "How did you get that?"
      "You ... don't want to know."
      "Damn it, Brislow, you're a cop. You can't go breaking into the federal building and stealing evidence."
      "It isn't like they were doing anything with it," slipped out of his mouth, and cursed himself silently.
      "What do you mean they weren't doing anything with it? Aren't they investigating the murder?"
      Great, think fast Denton.
      "They've probably processed that right now. All I know was the box was in their evidence locker."
      "What aren't you telling me?"
      "Alice, I need you to trust me. I can't tell you more."
      She cursed. "Alright, but I better damn get answers at some point."
      "You will, I promise." I'll even try to make them true answers.
      "Alright, what do you need?"
      He paused for a moment, he hadn't considered how he was going to get the evidence to her. "I'm going to arrange to get the prints and DNA to you in the morning. I need you to have it processed without anyone finding out."
      "I can do that, but it'll take a few days. Forensics have been swamped."
      "Okay, I'll call you in a few days, if it's ready I'll arrange to get it picked up."
      "Absolutely not."
      "Damn it Alice."
      "Look I believe you are who you say you are, but I want to make sure you're okay and in one piece, because I want to be the one to tear you a new one. So here's how it's going to go. When I have the results, I'm going to grab a coffee at Alonzo's on fifth. I'm going to be wearing that horrible scarf you gave me for my birthday. Since you're going to have the prints delivered to me, I'm guessing you have a way to have the place watched. While I'm sitting there, you're going to call me. You're going to set the meeting place, and I'm going to hand over the evidence there."
      "Alice, I don't have the time for spy games."
      "This isn't negotiable, Brislow. If you don't call while I'm at Alonzo's, you can kiss the result goodbye. Then I'm going to find you, and that new one will be the least of your worries. Do you understand me?"
      "I do."
      "Good." She was silent. "Damn it, Dent, what have you got yourself mixed up in?"
      "I'm still figuring that out, Alice."
      "You be careful, hear me? I don't want to lose my partner for real this time."
      "I'll do my damnedest best. I swear." he hung up.


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