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Appisode 8: 20:54 Lies and Recollections

Previously on Disorderly Conduct: Widower: Emerson went on a rooftop chase to catch Lee Paxton after Sabrina and he had split off in separate directions. Forced to choose, the detective eventually caught up with Lee and brought him in for questioning. Natalia’s post-traumatic stress catches up with her in the interrogation room and she needs to step out to calm herself down. After a short-lived conversation with Captain Bridges, Natalia looks back into the room to find Emerson snapping at Lee. Emerson grabs him by the shirt, about to punch him for bringing up painful memories of his father, Ivan, who died in the field of duty.

Does Emerson punch Lee or does Natalia get into the room before he can strike?

Click To Reveal Results
NATALIA INTERVENES
56%
EMERSON STRIKES
44%

Emerson!” Natalia shouted, running in just as he was about to strike.

He paused for only a second, which was all Natalia needed to shove his hand off of Lee’s shirt. Standing in between the two, she looked up at Emerson. Lee cowered back into his chair, keeping his eyes on Emerson, who never turned away from him.

No one attacked his father like that and no one dared treat his death as if it was anything less than tragic. The woman that killed Ivan Mackabe had escaped from Lakesight hospital and had been refusing to take her medication to help with her schizophrenia and hallucinations. She’d left because she thought that the guards were things that were trying to hurt her. When the police found her, Ivan along with them, she was sobbing, begging for an unknown force to pull the trigger on the gun that’s barrel was buried in her mouth. Ivan had gone to try and stop her, but the woman had seen him as some sort of threat and kept screaming that he needed to stop moving towards her.

Ivan didn’t listen.

He wanted to help. The woman had pressed the trigger a couple times, Ivan had assumed that the chamber was empty. He was wrong. A single bullet had been loaded, the woman hadn’t realized it, and neither had Ivan. She went to shoot the ‘monster’ and put a bullet in Ivan’s head, killing him instantly.

He always worked for the greater good, despite the personal risk. In a way, Emerson chose Natalia on the first day at the Academy because she had an aura of something indescribable for him at the time. When he looked back at it, Emerson chose her because she reminded him of his father. Always taking the risk and wanting to make the world a better place.

When Ivan died, the officer that tried to console Emerson, who had been 18 at the time and was fresh out of school for the day, tried to make it seem less painful by saying that it happened so quickly his father wouldn’t have felt a thing. The bullet that went through his forehead was in just the right spot, and the woman was arrested where she couldn’t harm anyone like that ever again.

Despite the officer’s best efforts, Emerson cried himself to sleep for many weeks following.

“Nat, let me at him,” Emerson growled, his fists balled in his hands. Violence wasn’t his thing, nor was it his father’s, but he was willing to make an exception for Lee at that particular moment.

No,” Natalia replied, standing her ground. Emerson was still looking passed her, which she wasn’t going to let happen. She grabbed his jaw roughly, turning his head to look at her.

Emerson sighed, pressing his lips together. He knew Natalia wasn’t the problem and, unlike her, didn’t want his anger directed towards the third party in the matter. “Did you hear what he said-?”

“It’s a yes or no question. Don’t avoid either answer,” Natalia said softly. “I’m not here to judge you.”

Natalia knew that it was one of those rare times where she was the voice of reason. That she was the one that stood in the way of all his pent up anger and hatred. The only thing stopping him from avenging his father was her and her alone. Natalia was the one that had to pull him from the pit before his anger could show itself in the harmful way that would probably get him sued for abuse of power.

Natalia knew all about that.

She wasn’t about to lose Emerson because of such a thing.

“Nat, he was talking about dad-” Emerson began to protest. She knew how important his dad had been to him. He was a single father, once Emerson had lost him, it was like losing one’s tether to a space shuttle. He was left to aimlessly drift amongst the cosmos, unsure of what to do. Ill-prepared was certainly a way to describe it, though Emerson knew there had to be a stronger word somewhere in the English language.

“I know he was. And I know how much he meant to you, I really do. But you can’t let this-” Natalia pressed two fingers onto the left side of his chest, she could feel the rapid palpitations as his blood boiled over, “Beat out this-” She pressed her fingers to his temple, feeling it pulse as he clenched his jaw tightly and ground his teeth together, “when it comes to having better judgement. I know that you’re angry and nothing would please me more than to let you go through with it and punch him square in the face. But it’s not happening, okay? Bridges is right behind that mirror, and she would love to put one of us on probation right now, you know that. She doesn’t care which one of us it is. Is he worth your career? Is he worth everything that you’ve worked for in your life? Everything that you’ve done for your dad in his memory? Is he worth destroying every moral that you built the foundation of your integrity as a police officer on since day one of training?”

Natalia would’ve been lying if she said she couldn’t see the tears forming in Emerson’s eyes.

Natalia swallowed hard, giving her all to keep herself from breaking too. Emerson needed her to keep it together because he was the one beginning to lose it. Natalia wasn’t going to let him feel as if he needed to compose himself on her behalf. She was there for him, that’s what partners did for each other.

Her voice cracked the slightest bit as she spoke once again, “Is he even worth it if we ignored all of that?”

Emerson shook his head slowly, lowering it as a tear dropped onto the floor. His lip trembled as he clamped his eyes shut, refusing to let any more tears fall. He hadn’t even wanted the first one to leave his eyes.
“Then don’t let him get under your skin,” Natalia whispered, “Don’t let him win. He wants you to lose it. He wants to be the one to break you. Don’t give him that power over you. Keep it together, you’ve got to.”

Emerson swallowed hard, nodding slightly. He couldn’t bring himself to use actual words, but Natalia knew he meant it. Emerson wasn’t going to lose it because, at the very least, that’s not what his father would’ve wanted. He drew in a shaky breath.

Lee clapped slowly, “Incredible. I had you both read wrong. I thought the woman was the bad cop in your little act, but it’s the complete opposite, isn’t it? You’re the one with the eternal rage and she’s the balm that keeps you grounded. Very interesting indeed.”

Natalia turned sharply to look at him, a harsh glare dressing her face. “Believe me when I say I wouldn’t bet money on that theory,” she growled.

Lee kept his composure, but Natalia watched his Adam’s apple bob as he gulped. A second passed before Lee spoke. “What do you need from me?”

“Jane’s file. Why’d you hide it?” Natalia demanded, not a moment’s hesitation before she sat down across from Lee.

“I never admitted to hiding it,” Lee answered coolly.

“So you did hide it, but you didn’t admit it?” Natalia pressed.

“I never said that-”

“Come on, Lee. What game are you trying to play here? You know that I know that you hid the file, and I know that you know I have no idea why. So why don’t we cut to the chase and you just tell my partner and I why you did it and we can move on?” Natalia reasoned, a lot calmer than she had been for the majority of the interview she’d been present for.

“You won’t believe me if I told you,” Lee replied, folding his hands on the table.

“Try us,” Emerson assured, “We’ve heard it all.”

Lee sighed, rolling his eyes. “Joan told me to.”

Moistening his bottom lip and running it underneath his top row of teeth, Lee began to tell the story of how Jane’s file had left the morgue.

*

Before

Lee sat at the desk, doodling on a bright yellow sticky note. The door opened and Lee looked up to see a woman. She had dark, mysterious eyes that gave off a mystique that intrigued Lee to no end.

Her black heels clacked against the floor as she walked up to the desk. She placed her hand on the counter, tapping her crimson red nails against the top after her keys clanged against it. She wore a black high waisted pencil skirt and had tucked in her short sleeved, button up scarlet blouse into the top of it. Bleached blonde hair had been in a bob at the time, but had since grown just past shoulder length. Her lips were painted with a red wine color, incredibly prominent against her porcelain skin.

“I need your help,” she immediately said, refusing to waste a second with petty small talk. She was straight to the point, hardly pausing to take a breath. “I need you to look up a file for me. Can you do that?”

Lee, stricken with what could only be described as a complete and utter fascination with the woman in front of him, nodded vigorously. He wanted to help her any way that he could.

“I believe that there’s a file on Jane Paxton in here?”

Lee typed although he already knew the answer, it was yes. “Are you related to her?”

“On the contrary, just close friends. People always say it’s like we’re the same person,” Joan quipped, smiling.

Lee laughed, though he didn’t really get the joke. “Well, let me go get that for you. Would you like to come?”

“Please,” Joan replied, flashing another award-winning, pearly white smile.

The two had walked down the hall, making common small talk. What the weather was like, where she was coming from, et cetera. When Lee found the file, he handed it to her without asking what she’d needed it for. He was too infatuated with the aura of mystery she had to make him even consider asking her such a question.

She tucked it under her arm, not leaving. Although they’d just met, Joan had introduced herself in the file room and asked him if he wanted to get a drink later that day. When it all came down to it and they started dating officially, Lee had proposed a mere two months into their relationship. Crazily, Joan had said ‘yes’ and they’d been together ever since.

All because Lee gave her the file on Jane’s death. To the present day, Lee still hadn’t known what Joan had wanted with the file. But he was in love, and love made him do crazy things, even if they didn’t make sense in the slightest. Lee found that was how their relationship had worked, but they’d been together since that day, so he figured it must’ve been fate that brought them together over a simple file.

Lee only believed in fate when it came to bringing him together with Joan.

*

Present

Emerson wanted to puke with Lee’s love story.

Sadly, it was an eyewitness account of what happened to the file, so he had to take it seriously. Natalia, normally all for ooey-gooey romantic stories, also looked like she wanted to lose her breakfast. Lee was telling the truth at least, which Emerson could only half appreciate considering the context of the story.

At least they knew who had it, or at least had it at some point.

It was a toe in the door at the very least, even if they didn’t know exactly who had vandalized the images and reports with those eerie sayings. Natalia appreciated that now they at least knew who their next interview was because there was no doubt in her mind that Sabrina had fled by then. Even if she hadn’t, she wasn’t going to let herself get caught for the fear of being arrested for resisting arrest and keeping information away from the police.

After pressing for more information, looking to squeeze out anything that Lee knew, Emerson and Natalia came to the conclusion that he’d run dry and they’d exhausted his knowledge of everything and anything regarding the case. They took him to an overnight cell so he could await a trial, as he had assaulted an officer. Emerson wasn’t just going to let him get away with that. Plus, they hadn’t agreed to any sort of reduced sentence for his information regarding their case.

Emerson had done that one on purpose.

After returning to Emerson’s office and looking at the file once again, the two remained silent. They looked through each clue meticulously, trying to find something else that could point them towards Joan, they hoped they could find a more probable piece of evidence because, but no such luck.

“I’m starving,” Emerson announced out of the blue, causing Natalia to look at him weirdly.

“Mackabe, we’re so close. I can practically smell the celebratory pickles and frosting-”

“Do you really want to smell that-?” Emerson wrinkled his nose in disgust.

“-Are you actually wanting to put this on hold to get lunch?” Natalia continued, knitting her eyebrows together and ignoring his comment.

Emerson nodded, “I forgot to have breakfast because I needed to pick up the warrant from the judge this morning. Can we take like a ten-minute lunch break? I want a greasy drive-thru burger and French fries. I worked up a serious appetite running after Lee.”

“I don’t know, should we really stop?” Natalia asked skeptically. She really wanted to get to the bottom of the case as soon as she could.

“Come on, Nat. You can’t tell me that you’re not hungry. I watched you eat an entire ice cream cake in one sitting a couple weeks ago. Pleaaaase?” Emerson whined.

Natalia rolled her eyes, it was like she was dealing with a child. Veronica was more mature than Emerson at that moment, and she ate her own boogers at times. “You’re an idiot, but fine,” Natalia agreed. She knew that when it came to Emerson and his enormous appetite, those arguments were the ones that she was going to lose without contest on nearly every occasion.

“Sweet, I’m driving,” Emerson stated with a grin. Before Natalia could protest, he grabbed the car keys and ran out of the office.

“Actual four year old,” Natalia mumbled with a sigh as she rose from her chair and walked after him.

By the time she’d got to the car, Emerson was already buckled in and had the engine started. Natalia sat down and put her seatbelt on, leaning her elbow against the door and gazing out the window. Emerson peeled out of the parking lot and turned onto the street.

Remaining in a comfortable silence, Emerson continued driving. Natalia knew he was probably going to the burger joint which was a ten-minute walk away from the precinct, so she didn’t pay much attention to where he was going.

Until it had been twenty minutes and they hadn’t stopped.

“Emerson, where are we going?” Natalia asked, sitting up slightly and looking at Emerson.

“For burgers, I said that,” Emerson replied, not taking his eyes off the road.

“You’re a terrible liar. Where are we going?” Natalia repeated, looking outside for any kind of sign to tell her because she knew Emerson wasn’t going to. When she caught sight of a small drugstore at one of the corners at the four-way intersection Emerson had stopped at for barely a second, Natalia knew exactly where they were going.

And she wasn’t happy about it in the slightest.

“Emerson, you can’t be serious! I’m fine. Let it go!” Natalia snapped, looking at him.

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you. The radio is too loud,” Emerson replied, refusing to tear his eyes off the road for even the smallest of seconds.

“How’d you even know where to go?!” Natalia pressed, getting angrier the more Emerson avoided her questions.

“Your husband gave the name to me in the case of an emergency,” Emerson replied.

Though Matthew didn’t like Emerson (and vice versa), and neither cared about hiding the fact, he wanted to make sure Natalia was safe at all times. Especially when she was at work, so he’d grudgingly came to the precinct one day and pulled Emerson aside to give him all the names and locations of the doctors they were in contact with for Natalia’s pregnancy. Just in case something happened while she was on the job and Emerson didn’t have time to contact him first. Never in a million years did Emerson think he’d use it, but there he was, driving to Hamilton O&G to get Natalia checked out and make sure that she was alright from her fall.

Emerson parallel parked perfectly while he ignored any further questions from Natalia. He had to admire her persistence, though, she really wanted those answers. He put the car in park and turned the engine off and looked at her, raising his eyebrows. He knew that this was going to be like pulling teeth, but for her health as well as her child’s, he was willing to pull until it was just gums left.

“Okay, let’s go,” Emerson said, undoing his seatbelt.

“I’m not going in there with you,” Natalia said, crossing her arms stubbornly.

Emerson rolled his eyes, “Why not?”

“Cause it’s weird!” Natalia protested.

“It’s not like I’ll be in the room with you, God!” Emerson made a face of repulsion, “We’re not that close of friends.”

Natalia sighed, unbuckling her belt, “Let’s just go then. You’re waiting in the lobby.”

“Yes ma’am,” Emerson muttered under his breath and got out of the car.

Natalia led the way, pointing Emerson in the direction of two chairs that were open, even when the clinic was practically empty, just a couple of women and men scattered throughout the seating area. Nevertheless, Emerson walked over to those identified chairs and sat down there. Natalia checked herself in and was told to take a seat and wait for her name to be called.

The two waited, Emerson reading some fashion magazine Natalia was biting her lip to the point it was nearly bleeding to prevent herself from making a snarky comment about it. He looked at the pictures and nothing else, merely “reading” it to keep himself busy. Suddenly, Natalia felt her pocket vibrate and frowned, pulling her phone out of her pocket.

She swore quietly after reading the caller ID. Putting on a smile and the best ‘everything is fine’ voice she could, she answered, “Hello?”

“Nat?” Matthew replied, “I came to the station to surprise you for lunch but no one’s seen you. Where are you?”

 

Does Natalia tell Matthew the truth or does she lie to him?

You Decided

Click To Reveal Results

TRUTH

89%

LIE

11%

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