Joneses – 13.2 Welcome Back

Eliza stepped into the Willow Creek Police Department and panned her eyes around the lobby. She had finally returned from an extra long maternity leave. Although she enjoyed being at home with her twins, she longed to return to work. Crime didn’t stop because she wasn’t around. It felt so good to be back.

“Good morning,” she said to the receptionist.

“Good morning! Welcome back, Captain Pancakes.”

Eliza didn’t recognize her, but it was nice to be known. It was almost like she was a legend or something. Or, perhaps she was just a good admin and kept up on all the employees’ files.

“How are those babies?”

“Quite a handful, but nothing Robert and I can’t handle.” she said and walked away.

Her first order of business was to chat with the chief. She was working on a case before she left and desperately wanted to get back to it if someone else was not already assigned to it. If it wasn’t available, she wanted to jump on her next case right away. She was so excited.

“Chief, good morning!”

She sat in the chair in front of his desk.

He looked up from the computer. “Captain Pancakes! Welcome back. How is the family?”

“Everyone is wonderful. Robert handles the girls so well, and Breanne is performing quite well in school. The twins…”

She was gushing. Captain Eliza Pancakes was not a woman who gushed. At least she didn’t use to be that way. Her life had changed so much ever since she first became a mother. Things she never said she would do she did, things she never said she’d say she said, and things she never thought she’d feel she felt. She was a different person, and that was fine by her, but not at work. She was Captain Pancakes after all. Her gushy, mommy, wifey feelings will not, cannot, shalt not interfere with her job performance or respect.

She cleared her throat. “They’re doing well too.” She took out her pen and pad and went straight into cop mode. “So…tell me about my case. Are there any new leads?”

The Chief hesitated for a moment. “I put Farris on that after you left.”

“Oh…. Yes, of course. That makes sense.”

Detective Kylee Farris. Her arch nemesis. Eliza swore she and the chief were in cahoots to keep her from succeeding. He put her on Eliza’s case. Although she knew he would reassign it to someone, she wanted him to give it to anyone but Det. Farris.

“You’ve been gone for three weeks. I think you should ease back in…get your bearings first.”

“My bearings, sir?”

He looked like he immediately regretted his word choice. “I’m saying perhaps you need to get reacquainted with–”

“Are you suggesting I may have forgotten how to do my job, sir?”

He sighed. “That’s not what I’m saying at all.”

She didn’t believe him but remained silent.

“We have new protocols…new systems. You should be familiar with them before taking another case.”

“Very well. What would you have me do?”

“Patrol.”

“Patrol?”

“Patrol.”

“Chief! A captain does not patrol the streets!”

“You will go on patrol, or go home, Pancakes.”

She glared at him for a brief moment before stowing her pencil and pad away.

“Yes sir.”

“And uhhh…you’ll be in San Myshuno from now on.”

She got up and exited the station, bruised pride and all. Why was this happening? What was going on? Something wasn’t right. This was surely the work of Kylee Farris. Eliza was so close to having the chief’s office it was maddening. Just two more promotions, and hopefully the people would vote for her. They needed someone with a level head who was interested in justice over politics or a positive image. Willow Creek and the surrounding areas need Chief Eliza Pancakes!

Geek Con was in town again, and Eliza thought that would be a good place to patrol. There was bound to be trouble brewing in large gatherings like that. Especially with a bar across the street. As she neared the crowd, she stuck her nose in the air, squared her shoulders, stowed those negative thoughts away, and strutted toward the crowd. If she was going to be the Chief of Police, people needed to see her in a positive light. She needed to be someone who could overcome adversity. They needed someone who wasn’t afraid to get in the trenches and get her hands dirty. That was it! Kylee and the Chief thought they could stop Eliza by giving her a rookie’s job, but she would show them. She planned on using this time to give the people what they want. When it came time to vote for the next Chief of Police, they wouldn’t even know what the other guy’s name was.

Up ahead, she saw a familiar face. She hadn’t spent much time in San Myshuno and hated that she would have to start over and get to know the residents and gain their trust. Whoever was on the Windenburg beat better be treating her people well.

“Marcus? Is that you?”

She saw he wasn’t happy when he turned around.

“What do you want, Pancakes?” he asked tersely.

She was taken aback. He had always been so pleasant. Sometimes too friendly back in the day.

“Oh…I was just saying hello. I didn’t know you spent time here.”

“I don’t!” He closed his eyes and breathed in deep. “I’m sorry. I’m just pissed!”

A sad looking little boy crossed in front of her as she was about to ask what was bothering him. It was a week day, and the boy should have been in school.

“Is this your son?”

“Yeah.”

As she got a closer look at him, she noticed he was in his underwear. “Where are his pants?”

The question riled him up again. “These llamahead bullies took my boy’s pants! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been up to that school with this type of mess! I’m sick of it! I wanna see about getting into the San Myshuno school district.”

“Are you still living in Windenburg?”

“I know I don’t live in San Myshuno! I’m just tryna do right for my boy! If there’s a way, I’ma find it!”

Eliza didn’t have any experience with Breanne being bullied, but her heart went out to Marcus in a way it never did before. She knew the probability of his son switching schools was very slim, but he was desperate, and she understood that. If she were in a similar situation with Breanne, or even Lily and Lexi, she would pound the streets so hard and fight tooth and nail until justice was done for her kids. That’s the kind of person who needed to be the Chief of Police!

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