He stood there frozen, in the small-darkened observation room, peering through the one-way glass into the interview room. His eyes were riveted to the victim where she sat alone, waiting, under the fluorescent lighting. Her petite body barely filled the chair she sat in. Shivering in an upright fetal position, legs drawn up onto the chair, arms wrapped tightly around her knees, she tried to control the shivers that racked her 105-pound frame.
Glancing at his wristwatch, he realized the woman before him had lived through the worst five hours of her life, and he was about to add to that. It was his job as lead Detective in the investigation for the Upland PD, to interview this woman. To gather painful and embarrassing details necessary to aid him in solving the crime. He was aware that the interview and questioning process would add to her distress, and that bothered him.
As he turned away from the victim, it occurred to him that he’d failed to acknowledge the psychiatrist upon entering the room. She stood there, case file clutched to her chest, looking at the victim through frameless bifocals that magnified her solemn hazel eyes.
Clearing his throat, to get her attention, he said, “Hi I’m Detective Dustin Reynolds.” In greeting, he extended his hand.
“Hello Detective, Dr. Ashton. Nice to make your acquaintance.” she replied while barely shaking his hand.
“Have you been on this case long?”
“I was brought in a few minutes after she arrived at the hospital before she was examined. So if that counts as long by your standards, Detective, then the answer is yes.”
The doctor’s rudeness and sarcasm were no surprise. Most of the psychiatrists he’d worked with viewed the police force as a bunch of insensitive bastards, emotionally disconnected, who had little to no regard for their victims’ mental well-being, and only cared about one thing; solving the case. This he was familiar with and understood. It wasn’t the first, nor would it be the last time someone stereotyped him. Long ago, he decided not to hold people accountable for their stupidity upon first encounters. So he let it go.
“How is she? What did the attending physician doctor have to say about her coming down to the station tonight to give her statement?”
Dr. Ashton glanced at him then to the victim and back again before grumbling, “Physically she has suffered some lacerations and bruises, and she may be impregnated, but it’s too soon to know. Her physician recommended that she rest tonight and give her statement tomorrow from the comfort of her home.”
“I see. How do you think she is doing? Can she handle this right now?”
She just stared at him, with narrowed eyes, searching for something. The silence stretched between them, but he held her steady stare. As seconds ticked away, his wolf instincts pushed toward the surface, wanting out.
An unspoken dominance challenge agitated his wolf. It was eager for battle to eliminate the perceived threat; energy flowed up his spine raising the hairs on the nape of his neck. He soothed it back under the surface with a cleansing breath. Inhaled through the nose, expanding the abdomen, exhale through slightly pursed lips, forcing all air from the lungs. Controlling it was natural as breathing, a strength that enabled him to perform his duties as a Detective without risk of exposure. She looked away first, backed down, and the wolf was triumphant.