They'd met five months earlier, in line at an IMAX showing of Superman Returns. Tommy made the first move, said he was surprised to see a girl at a superhero movie, then blurted an apology for calling her a girl.
The following week, Shawn saw him in line for Prada. They decided to sit together, and afterward Tommy said he preferred Prada to Superman.
One of the first things I liked about him, she thought.
Monday, around quitting time, Al Romero found her with the desk phone in her hand.
"Calling Tommy?" Romero teased.
"Yes," she said.
Al dropped a folder on the desk. "You may want to hold off."
Hanging up, Shawn's hand went for her holstered sidearm.
"You always do that," Al said, "when we talk about exes. You secretly wanna shoot 'em?"
"Nothing secret about it." Shawn placed both hands flat on the desk. She stared at the folder, then closed her eyes. "God, just tell me."
"You wouldn't believe me," Al said, "if I did."
* * *
Tuesday morning, Riley and Romero reported to Capt. Daniels that Shawn had been dating a wanted criminal.
"Fuck," Daniels said. "Again?"
Shawn made sure to be polite. "Yes, sir, How should I proceed?"
Daniels pored over Tommy's file. He stroked the whiskers on his chin. "What would you do if you hadn't found out?"
"Keep dating him, introduce him to my folks."
"Then that's what we'll do."
* * *
Tuesday night, after an hour staring at her phone, Shawn invited Tommy to dinner at her place.
"Thursday," she said. "7:30?"
"Sure." Now that she listened for it, his voice sounded different. "I've got NCIS Season Two on DVD."
"That came out?"
"Well, I wasn't planning on TV, if you know what I mean."
"I think I do. See you then."
Hanging up, Shawn congratulated herself on her performance. Then she touched her crucifix, thanking God she was shy.
* * *
After fluffing her hair, Shawn decided to redo her lipstick.
Backup should be in place. I might not even have to--
The doorbell rang. Shawn checked the peephole, registering Tommy without really looking. She'd never be able to see him the same way.
Touching her gun with her left hand, she opened the door with her right. "Hi, Tommy." Before she met his eyes, someone shouted, "Police!"
Two uniformed officers rushed in, one handcuffing Tommy, the other pulling off his wig.
Flatly, Shawn said, "Teresa Aviles, you're under arrest for fraud and endangering the welfare of a minor. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will sound like bull to me anyway."
Gerald So is a writer, fiction editor of Thrilling Detective Magazine, moderator of the Yahoo Group DetectToday devoted to detective fiction and all around swell guy. He blogs over at If You Want To Know About My Life...