Justice Page 39

’’Send someone to pick her up and take her home. She\s had a long day. Tell her to go back to the Medical Center in the morning. Tomorrow she can move Beauty into the dorm if Ted clears it. Have whoever picks her up take her dinner. She shouldn\ cook tonight after the past twelve hours she\s endured. She likes prime rib.’’

Tiger\s eyebrows lifted. ’’How do you know that?’’

Justice inwardly winced over revealing too much. ’’I just do. Make sure she\s taken care of and fed well. I have to go make some calls. The governor is demanding we go to a charity event next month and I\m going to accept. It\s for animal rights and it would be bad publicity if we refused, so get ready to be annoyed.’’

’’Shit,’’ Tiger groaned. ’’Take Brass.’’

’’He\s going too but I want you there.’’ Humor curved Justice\s lips. ’’If I have to suffer, you should too. The governor\s wife found you especially charming.’’

’’She patted my ass!’’

’’See? She\s Species friendly.’’

Justice laughed, exited the security building quickly and hoped to clear his busy schedule as quickly as possible. Jessie was at Homeland and he wanted to talk to her.

Chapter Nine

Jessie closed the door and held the large bag of takeout food from the NSO cafeteria. She hadn\ eaten all day and the smell of dinner made her stomach rumble.

She turned on lights to study the living room, debating whether to eat or explore. Her stomach rumbled again, settling the debate.

The couch was plush and comfy as she sat, settled the bag on the table before her and opened it. The scent of prime rib made her groan. Justice had to have ordered it for her since they hadn\ asked her what she wanted. At least she hoped he\d done something that thoughtful. For all she knew, prime rib could have been the day\s special.

She\d gotten to spend time with Tiny and Halfpint again. That had been great.

She\d always believed her job rewarding since joining the task force but nothing reaffirmed that more than seeing the changes in the two. They\d been frightened, injured, abused women who were shells when they\d been rescued. Now they were secure, thriving individuals who had found happiness.

The cafeteria had sent everything from silverware to napkins and two types of sodas. She ate almost inhaled the food and enjoyed every bite. She ignored the television across the room, a large plasma screen that hung over a fireplace, and gawked a little at how nice her quarters were. It was a big house, fully furnished and new.

Her attention finally settled on the bag she\d brought and knew she\d have to unpack. She wanted her clothes from home but had to settle for the ones her father had bought at a large retail store. He\d tried to find high-end stores but Jessie had refused.

Her father could be worse than her female friends when it came to picking out clothes.

He couldn\ just sit back quietly while she shopped but instead had to make comments, especially when he didn\ agree with her choices.

She gripped the handle of the bag, stood and walked down the hallway. The first bedroom was generic, nice. She moved on to the second one. It was a big room, the master, and she grinned.

’’I can get used to this,’’ she muttered. The height of the king-size bed lifted her eyebrows. ’’I\ll probably need a stepstool to climb on to that.’’ The room had a massive nine-drawer dresser and a flat-screen TV was sitting on it. It was probably a forty-inch TV. Cool. She grinned. Two nightstands finished off the furniture. She spun away, saw an open walk-in closet and a dark doorway.

The bathroom was huge. She gawked at the Jacuzzi tub taking up an entire corner and dropped her bag. She didn\ resist the urge to climb inside, sit and chuckle. Four people could fit in the thing. It had jets and she decided she\d take a bath instead of a shower.

’’I need to get undressed first.’’ She didn\ want to move. It had been a really long day and her headache threatened to return when she felt a slight throbbing at her temples.

She lifted up a hand to gently touch the back of her head, found the bandage there and sighed loudly. Her life had changed because she\d been shot. Her job with the task force was history. She had a new home yet absolutely no idea what to expect. What she needed, she realized, was to at least get acquainted with her surroundings, starting with the rest of the house.

Jessie forced her body upright, decided it was time to explore her cottage and climbed out of the tub. There was a nice kitchen and open dining room near the living room. She eased open cupboards and drawers, learning everything from silverware to dishes had been supplied. A gasp passed her parted lips when she opened the fridge to discover it had been stocked with enough food to feed a family of eight for a week, at least. The freezer was packed too with everything from ice cream to frozen meat.

* * *
Jessie cleaned up her dinner mess quickly and took one of the pain pills her doctor had prescribed. That bathtub was calling to her. She unpacked and grabbed a pair of boxers and a half shirt before returning to the bathroom. It didn\ take long at all to fill the big tub, strip and sink slowly into the warm wonderfulness of the bubbling Jacuzzi.

The jets against her back were heavenly and she raised her feet, shoving them over two more jets opposite where she sat. The headache slowly faded as she tilted her head gently on the rim, her body relaxed and she released all her pent up stress.

’’Oh, I\m never leaving,’’ she whispered aloud, her eyes closing. ’’This is the life.’’

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