Thank you to all my readers who’ve sent me the wonderful feedback. This series has lasted longer than I anticipated. I’m ecstatic that it’s turned out as well as it has and that you all are still enjoying it. Thanks again.

As always, humble thanks to the Beta Monster, TAE. Without her input there’d be even more errors and mistakes than there are.

Chapter 11: Family


Rhonda graciously took the offered arm of her date. "Thank you for the lovely evening, Detective."

Detective Rafe pulled himself up to his full height, "It was my pleasure, ma'am."

The two young people had gone to see the local theater troupe perform Show Boat and had sat talking while the rest of the audience left. Now they were walking arm in arm back to Rafe's car.

As they neared the opening of an alley, Detective Rafe halted. He motioned for Rhonda to stand close to the wall and to remain silent. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse as her date pulled his service weapon from his holster.

"What is it?" she whispered.

"I heard scuffling. It's probably nothing, but you know how it goes," he explained with a crooked smile.

The detective took advantage of his dark formal wear and eased along the wall into the alley. Rafe waited a moment, giving his eyes time to adjust and to listen. What he heard confirmed his suspicions, someone was being mugged.

He inched closer until he was sure that he would be able to take the assailants by surprise. "FREEZE! POLICE!" he yelled as he stepped out to confront the two suspects.

The two muggers looked up, their eyes were wide with surprise that they'd actually been caught.

One suspect froze in fear while the other looked around wildly for a means of escape. Seeing that they were in a dead end alley, he ran straight for the police officer, intending to muscle his way past.

The trained detective held his ground until the last moment, then sidestepped the assailant, allowing him to trip over some hidden detritus and head first into the nearby dumpster, knocking him unconscious.

Rafe continued to cover the second suspect as he checked out the first. Finding the other man was no longer a threat, he spoke to the remaining offender. "Move back. Lay face down, spread your legs, and interlock your fingers behind your head."

Only after the suspect had complied did the detective check on the victim. He cursed at what he found. "Ah, shit. RHONDA," this last part was shouted over his shoulder.

When the young woman peeked around the corner, Rafe continued, "Call for a couple of units to take these guys to the station and an ambulance."

The secretary remained at the mouth of the alley, "Backup is already on the way. I called when I heard you shouting." Rhonda then turned her attention back to the cell phone and instructed dispatch to also send an ambulance.

"You'd also better call Ellison," Rafe continued once Rhonda had hung up with dispatch.

She edged closer trying to see what Rafe saw, "Why?" she asked cautiously.

"Because the victim is his father, William Ellison."

"No, don't call Jimmy," William managed to say.

Rafe turned back to the injured man, "What? Are you sure? Jim would want to know."

Rafe helped William sit up, "Please. I'll be fine. You've already caught the men who did this and it would only worry him. He and Stevie are having dinner tonight and I don’t want to ruin their evening." William looked up and gave Rhonda a pleading look, "I'll tell him, but I don't want to worry him."

Just then, the uniform officers and paramedics arrived and further phone calls were forgotten with all the activity. The uniforms secured the would-be-muggers while the paramedics examined William.

It had been determined that the unconscious suspect could be transported to the hospital in one of the patrol cars, leaving the ambulance for William.

Since William wouldn't let Rafe and Rhonda contact his son, they accompanied him to the hospital.


The doctor escorted William out of the ER, "Now be sure to keep those cuts clean and take the full prescription of antibiotics."

William started to nod, but decided that it was a bad idea, "Yes, Doctor."

The doctor hesitated before handing the release forms to the elder Ellison, "Are you sure you don't want to stay? I'd..."

"Yes, Doctor. I'll be fine. My housekeeper will be there if I need anything," William stated firmly.

Rafe and Rhonda walked up to the doctor and William.

"Mr. Ellison?"

William turned to see who had called his name. "Detective, you didn't have to stay."

Rafe waved off the comment, "Don't worry about it. I would have felt bad if we hadn't waited to make sure you were all right, especially since you wouldn’t let us call Jim."

Just then, Sally walked up to the group, "Oh, Mr. Ellison, I'm glad to see you are all right."

Her eyes grew wide as she saw the condition of William’s shirt. It was covered with blood from various cuts as well as dirt and other unidentifiable substances from the alley.

William reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder, "It's nothing. It looks worse than it really is."

The housekeeper continued, "You should have asked me to bring you a clean shirt, or at least a warm jacket."

Suddenly Rafe took off towards the exit. He stopped at the doors saying, "Don't go anywhere, I'll be right back."

The remaining people exchanged confused looks. A few moments later, Rafe appeared, carrying a gray bundle, and held it out to William.

"Oh, no, I couldn't take it. You've done enough, already," William said in response to the offered sweatshirt.

Rafe just smiled and continued to hold the shirt out to the other man, "Go ahead. Actually, it's Jim's."

Now it was William's turn to be surprised, "Jimmy's? How did you come to have my son's sweatshirt?"

Rafe gave an abbreviated version of how he had gotten the shirt from Rhonda, how Rhonda had gotten it from Blair, and how Blair had gotten it from Jim. "Where it's been before that, I don't really know."

William smiled, "Well, how can I refuse, then? Thank you, Detective." He took the shirt and disappeared into the restroom to change, emerging a few moments later wearing the Army sweatshirt and the smile of a proud father.

"Thanks again, Detective, Ms. Cameron." He shook hands with Rafe and kissed Rhonda's hand, and then William Ellison and Sally headed for home.

Rafe turned to his date, "I'm sorry that our evening ended badly."

Rhonda smiled back, "Why would you say that? Is it over already?"

Rafe simply returned the smile and offered the young woman his arm.

"By the way, nicely done," Rhonda said as she took his arm and the two walked out of the hospital to continue their date.

Chapter 12

Chapter 10


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