The ride back was a thoroughly pleasant experience. As wonderful as the trip to Staten Island, the return was amazing. Michael bought a camera and Bobbie took fifty shots of everything in sight. The girl used her innocent manner and talked a visiting German couple into taking several snaps of them. Of course the giddy young girl reciprocated for the tourists.
Passing barges, helicopters and of course the Statue of Liberty were her targets. But more importantly was the conversation. They had a history. The time spent together was immaterial. It was a relationship. Something that Bobbie thought only possible in the Fairy Tale books she so loved to read. Leaving the terminal after docking, the same reverence was paid the retired detective. A salute or simple nod showed the respect and apparent admiration that was held for her escort. And he was her escort. This time the young Asian hottie was not ignored. Burly, uniformed men with side arms waved to both as they left for the downtown street. Bobbie felt an urge to pet one of the guard dogs, a black German Shepherd. Its coat shined as velvet. A closer look at the silent dog changed her mind. A vagrant bellowed near his handler. The snarl showed a row of sharp canines. It was a small dalliance. The day was turning out to be perfect. However, even in the most sugarcoated tales, a little vinegar will fall.
“Sergeant! I don’t believe it.” The screech traveled over the bustling traffic. They were out of the terminal a few seconds when they were spotted.
“Rosita? You look terrific.” Bobbie stood silent, but suddenly questioned Michael’s taste in women.
“I retired at Lieutenant.” The conversation would become loud and boisterous when the flamboyantly dressed women spoke. Bobbie clutched Michael’s arm tightly as she inventoried the brash figure before her.
“My God, look what she’s wearing. That dress is so tight its ready to rip. And the color? Oh, vomit violet! Her make up, please? Everyone knows you’re a whore, do you have to yell it all over Water Street?” Bobbie hid her disgust behind a timid demeanor. Though her mind was running at full speed. “Oh, you tramp get away from him.” The silent young girl slowly slid behind Michael.
“I will never forget you Sarge. I mean Lieutenant.” Bobbie heard something about the success of both her children. The women thanked Michael as if he had a hand in their good fortune. The boy was in the Army and the girl was a mother and living with some guy. “I guess that is success to someone like this.” She thought.
Before parting Rosita pulled Michael aside. Bobbie strained to hear what she had whispered to her new friend. The roar of traffic would not oblige.
“She seems an interesting character?” Bobbie wanted to know what was said.
“At least her kids are doing well.” There was an uncomfortable silence until their entrance into the parking garage.
“Why was she thanking you like that?” Bobbie’s arms crossed as her stare was to the front.
“Bobbie, what do you mean, like that?
“Really, well like you saved one of her kids from drowning.” A slight burst of air zoomed from the girl’s nostrils. She was angry.
“Almost, baby! The boy was ready for Rikers. He was seventeen and had a rap sheet. The girl was fourteen and a mother.” Bobbie’s jaw dropped.
“I heard of stories like that, but never.” Blaring horns drowned out her words.
“Well, I pulled some strings. I figured they could straighten out. Took a chance,” he gently pinched her cheek, “and I guess its ok?” The girl softly gripped the muscular arm.
“What did she tell you? Why did she pull you aside? Why couldn’t I hear?” Michael licked a pair of suddenly dry lips. “Its ok baby, nothing to do with you.”
“I have a name. Use it!” Her petite frame threw itself into the massive bucket seat of the BMW. Folded arms braced an annoyed expression. Michael pretended not to notice as tears began to form. A brief glance saw the watery eyes ready to explode. He pulled over. Before he could speak, “you have so many secrets. More than me, even. I want to see your wallet. I want it now!” She demanded.
“Pretty good detective skills kid. A man’s wallet can tell you a lot.” Michael handed it to the sobbing young woman. Thumbing through the pictures. “And who is this? A wife? Kids? What’s this? You got two families?” Michael looked at her waiting to see if fire shot from her nose.
“Are you finished?” He asked in a calm voice. “I got a couple of hundreds in there too.” Michael smiled in hopes of placating her.
Bobbie sat straight with a rigid arrogance in the oversized leather seat. She had no intention of speaking. She wanted answers.
“In two months I will be divorced. Officially! And by the way, it’s cause she doesn’t understand me.” Michael’s smile took on a new form. One of anger. “She doesn’t understand that I like to have sex with as many women as I can before I go home.” Bobbie’s expression changed.
“My kids hate me for no good reason. Just because I was never home and even find better things to do than visit my son and his wife, who is pregnant.”
“Want to know who this family is? Read the back.” Saying his piece, Michael turned toward the driver side window. Bobbie removed the photo with deliberate movements after his words. The trio of figures looked as if from Sweden or some other Norse country. Even the infant’s thin platinum hair was visible in the photo.
She looked at the inscription. Bobbie realized in her hysteria she did not notice the man standing along side the woman and baby.
“What does this mean? Thank you for our lives?” Her eyes no longer showed anger.
“That woman decided to visit New York when she was six months pregnant. Halted by a snort of humored air. “She was to meet her husband uptown for lunch. She decided to take a tour of,” he briefly paused. It seemed the memory was disturbing.
“Dumb bitch got to come to this part of the City. There was a problem in a building she had visited.” His voice became strained. “Somehow, she was knocked unconscious. We had to evacuate everybody. I reentered the building, I don’t know why?” It appeared he still did not know the answer to that question.
“Michael, what building?” Her frail request was ignored.
“I saw her on the steps. I just picked her up and ran. I made it outside and just kept running. Then I was thrown in mid air.” Stopping as if stamina was needed to complete the story. “I held her tight but we were separated. There was smoke. I saw her and laid across that belly before something hit me.” A short laugh, “I woke up two days later.”
“Michael when was this?” Again she was ignored.