Fannie Never Flinched PDF Free Download

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“Apparently not. Anyway, I was holding this little guy at the time and he let out a shriek. Jane came bolting down the stairs like the house was on fire. And she was very angry with Erik. Very, very angry.”
Dana’s eyes narrowed. “Did she strike him?”
“No. Just cleaned him up. None too gently. I tried to check on him later, but she said he was asleep.”
“Dr. Lee’s coming later today. We’ll need to tell him what happened.”
“I recorded it in the log.” Evie stood up, the sleeping toddler in the crook of her arm. Reached for the doorknob with her free hand. An effective dismissal.
“I’ll check on him now,” Dana said. “And, Evie? Goodman’s out there. Please don’t leave the door unlocked. Please.”
Evie’s dark eyes stilled. “I’ll note that as well.” And the door closed in Dana’s face.
With another sigh, Dana knocked on Jane’s door. Jane appeared, her translucent eyes widening at the sight of Dana in the doorway. Braless in a skimpy tank top and short shorts, Jane looked more like an exotic dancer than an abused mother of a ten-year-old boy. Dana chided herself for the thought. A woman had a right to dress the way she wanted in the privacy of her own room. And it was unbearably hot outside. “Hi, Jane. I was just checking to make sure everything was all right. From last night.”
Jane turned to look over at Erik, giving Dana a quick glimpse of a shoulder tattoo. A stylized capital A peeked out from the shoulder strap of the tank top. “He’s sleeping,” she murmured. “I guess the chicken didn’t agree with him last night.”
“Or his stomach couldn’t take being full after being hungry for a while,” Dana said quietly. The scars on Jane’s arms, the tattoo . . . They seemed at odds with the defeated woman standing before her. “Did you get enough to eat before you came here, Jane?”
Jane dropped her eyes. “Not always. Sometimes we went without. I tried to stretch the food we had as far as I could. But sometimes Erik’s medicine takes his appetite. I’ve been trying to get him to eat since we got here.”
“You were angry last night. Why?” Dana watched her carefully. Very carefully. And had she not been, she might have missed the way Jane’s teeth clenched. Because it was gone, faster than it had appeared, and in its place was resolved despair.
“I was embarrassed. Not angry.”
“Sometimes stress can make us do things we wouldn’t normally do,” Dana said, still watching. “Sometimes we strike out at those closest to us without meaning to.”
“I . . . I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Dana gently grasped one of Jane’s arms and just as gently ran her fingers over the faint little scars. “Sometimes when we’re stressed we strike out at ourselves. Hurt ourselves. Sometimes we hurt those we love.”
And then Dana saw what Caroline had meant. A controlled little explosion went off in Jane’s eyes and for a split second hate flared, pure virulent rage. Dana took an unplanned step back just as Jane jerked her arm away and crossed her arms over her chest. “I would never hurt my son.” The words were hissed.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t,” Dana soothed. Her eyes were drawn to Jane’s hands reflexively digging into her bare upper arms. And then she saw the smaller tattoo, just under the knuckle on her left ring finger. A little cross. A prison tattoo. She looked up. Saw that Jane knew what she’d been staring at.
“What did you do?” Dana asked quietly.
Jane’s chest was pumping like a bellows. “None of your damn business.”
Dana cast a glance over her shoulder at the sleeping boy. She’d need to talk to Dr. Lee about this. Find out if they needed to involve Children’s Services to remove Erik from his mother. But that needed to be based on the behavior she saw now. Not the behavior that came before. People made mistakes. Paid their debts. Went on with their lives. Dana had. She wished she could believe Jane Smith was one of those people, too.
“You’re right. What is important is the well-being of your son. Are we clear, Jane?”
Jane jerked a nod. “Yeah.” Then for the second time in ten minutes, a door was carefully closed in Dana’s face.
“Hell,” Dana muttered, then glanced at her watch. Still fourteen hours until dinner.
Then the phone rang and Evie appeared in her doorway, her face like stone. “That was Max. The baby’s monitors just went nuts and Caroline’s asking you to come.”
Chicago, Tuesday, August 3, 9:00 A.M.
Evie sat down next to Erik with a worried frown. Jane had taken the Sunday want ads and was out looking for a job. She stroked the boy’s hair, feeling the dirt and oil on her fingers. Not every woman who came through Hanover House was an attentive mother, but Jane Smith was one of the most neglectful. Also one of the most antisocial. Rarely did they see her. Rarely did she eat meals with the others, usually stating she was taking hers and Erik’s up to their room. Evie remembered the way he’d wolfed down the chicken legs—like he hadn’t eaten in days. And she wondered how much food Erik was really getting.
Someone needed to take care of this child. “And it might as well be me,” she murmured. She got some towels. She’d wash this child’s hair as he lay here on the bed if she had to. He was still sweaty and dirty from throwing up the chicken last night, for God’s sake.
Which worried her more than anything else. His eyes had been so bright, so alert. Nothing like they’d been before. Nothing like they were now. She’d seen his file, knew he was waiting for Dr. Lee to come by with a refill for his epilepsy meds. She wondered if Jane was giving him the right dose. He was so thin. Maybe she was giving him too much.
That it wasn’t an accident had occurred to Evie, but that wasn’t something one voiced without good proof. Getting the dose right would be one of the things she’d work on with Dr. Lee this afternoon. Erik’s extreme hunger and nausea the night before would be another.
She lifted his head to pile the towels beneath him, but when she brought her hand away it was red and sticky. She jolted, just for a second. Then realized it wasn’t blood. It was sweet and candy-sticky. Gingerly she lifted her fingers to her nose.
No, it wasn’t blood. It was Benadryl. She remembered Jane asking for the bottle on Sunday, just before she went to Lillian’s funeral. Normally Evie dispensed a single dose at a time, but she’d been distracted that day. Jane had quite obviously kept the bottle. Gently she bathed Erik’s face and his neck and he stirred, opening his eyes.
“Please talk to me, Erik,” she said softly. “You don’t need to be afraid of me.”
But Erik just looked at her blankly, closed his eyes, and went back to sleep.
With a sigh Evie called Dana’s pager. Although she hated to admit it, she needed some help.
Ocean City, Maryland, Tuesday, August 3,
10:00 A.M. Eastern (9:00 A.M. Central)
Lou Moore approached the counter at the Ocean City jail just in time to see Janson signing in, flexing his shoulders after his long drive. “Detective Janson, I’m Sheriff Moore.”
“Nice to meet you, Sheriff,” Janson said, shaking her hand. “Our robber’s name is Bryce Lewis. His driver’s license says he’s seventeen and from Chicago. Also we found Cheryl Rickman’s car early this morning. Someone had switched the plates which was why we overlooked it at first. They found it about two blocks from the bus terminal.”
“So maybe whoever killed Rickman took a bus out of town.”
“I thought that, too. We’ll be checking with the bus company, but since we don’t know who we’re looking for, I don’t expect to get much at this point.”
She saw an officer leading a young man in shackles. “Is Lewis considered violent?”
Janson shrugged. “He pulled a twenty-two on the convenience store owner who in turn pulled a Saturday Night Special from behind the counter. Lewis apparently got the deer in the headlights look and the store owner ended up bashing him on the head with a sack of quarters he had sitting next to the register.”
“Has he said how he cam
e to have Rickman’s laptop power cord in his backpack?”
“No. He hasn’t said a word except for one phone call. He said he’d called a relative, but no one came to bail him out. He was arraigned for the attempted robbery on Friday.”
They went into the small interview room and sat across the table from the sullen young man and his young attorney. It was Janson’s interview, so Lou sat back and listened.
“I’m Detective Janson with the Morgantown, West Virginia, Police Department,” he said. “I investigate homicides.” He let the statement hover but Lewis looked bored. “This is Sheriff Moore. She’s the sheriff in Wight’s Landing.”
For a split second, Lewis’s shoulders tensed. To his credit, his attorney didn’t bat an eye. “I’m Stuart Fletcher, public defender’s office. Let’s make this quick, shall we?”
Janson shrugged. “I have a body in my morgue. Female, twenty-six years old.”
“Killed when?” Fletcher asked.
Janson sucked in one cheek. “Thursday morning last week, between midnight and six.”
The defender’s laugh was derisive. “My client was arrested here at midnight, six hours by car from your body. I think we have a pretty airtight alibi, Detective.”
Janson remained unruffled. “Your client was in possession of one of my victim’s belongings at the time of his arrest.”
“And this belonging would be—?”
“A power cord for her laptop computer.”
Fletcher snorted. “Tell me you came all the way from West Virginia with more than that.”
There was a very long pause during which Janson and the defender didn’t break eye contact. Lou knew Fletcher knew something. Privilege my Aunt Fannie. The boy had told him something and Fletcher didn’t plan to reveal a damn thing.
“Paul McMillan,” Lou said and once again saw the boy flinch. “Vaughn,” she added, and the kid nearly jumped from his chair. She looked at Janson and he nodded, pleased. “I also have a body,” she said, “for which your client’s alibi won’t hold. My body is the fiancé of Detective Janson’s body. An interesting coincidence, you’ll allow.”
“Time of death?” Fletcher asked impatiently.
“This past Wednesday morning, between one and four a.m.”
Fletcher tilted his head, eyes narrowed. “Precise.”
“My ME analyzed the bugs eating what was left of Paul McMillan’s head.”
Lewis jumped up and tripped on his ankle shackles, fell to his knees, and threw up.
Fletcher didn’t bat an eye. “The food here sucks,” he said calmly. “And this interview is over. Guard, please take Mr. Lewis back to his cell.” He leaned over, whispered in Lewis’s ear, then straightened and presented them with a smile. “I hope you have a pleasant drive back to West Virginia, Detective.”
When they’d gone, Lou frowned. “He had to have been working with someone.”
“It’s the only way to explain Rickman’s murder,” Janson agreed. “I’ll let you know if anything turns up from Rickman’s car. If we can put Bryce Lewis in the car, that may be enough for an indictment, which might shake him up enough into revealing his partner. As long as he’s only facing the robbery, he has nothing to lose by keeping his mouth shut.”
Lou shook his hand good-bye. “Nobody’s bailed him out yet, so at least we don’t have to worry about him going anywhere. It buys us some time.”
Ocean City, Maryland, Tuesday, August 3,
11:30 A.M. Eastern (10:30 A.M. Central)
James Lorenzano sat on the other side of the visitation glass, waiting patiently. Sue wasn’t here, but her brother was. Got himself arrested for knocking off a convenience store. James had to smile, picturing Sue’s reaction to that news. Whatever her plan had been, her brother had taken it the opposite direction. He hoped she was adopting, adapting, and improving. Wherever the hell she was.
James knew that when compared to his own skills, Moore and her detective were mere amateurs. The boy would talk. Maybe not today, but definitely tomorrow.
Bryce Lewis sat down on the other side of the glass and just looked at him.
“I came from your uncle’s house,” James said, forgoing formal introduction. He saw a little spark of hope, which he would squash like a bug. “He’s dead.”
Shock. A little grief. Mostly fear. “Why?”
James smiled. “I think you already know. Where is she, Bryce?”
Bryce licked his lips. “Where is who? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
James stood up. “Fine. We’ll play this your way today. I’ll be back tomorrow and we’ll play it mine.”
Chicago, Tuesday, August 3, 11:00 A.M.
Dana sank onto the old sofa in the waiting room, drained. Physically. Emotionally.
David sat down on the cushion next to her. Stiffly. He looked as weary as she was sure she did. He still wore the clothes he’d had on last night. At least she’d been able to get a shower and a fresh set of clothes at Hanover House before Max had called. By the time she’d arrived, the worst of the crisis was again over and Caroline was resting. The tense smile Caroline had managed when Dana barreled through the doorway broke her heart more than the sight of Max’s gaunt face, streaked with tears. All Dana had been able to think was that this was all her fault. All my fault. Because it was.
Bent over, his balled fists pressing into his eyes, David sighed. “I’m sorry, Dana.”
She glanced over in surprise. “Why?”
His hands fell limply between his spread knees, but his back stayed bowed. “Everything, I guess. I was out of line last night. You didn’t cause this. I was just mad and scared.”
Dana leaned into him, rested her forehead on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, too. You were right. This isn’t a game and I’ve put Caroline and Evie and everyone else in danger. I want you to know I’ve been doing some serious thinking about it. I’m not sure what I’ll do about it, but I’ll be making some changes.” She had been thinking about it, all through the night. All through the last three hours of hell.
Her work was important. Vital. Caroline believed it as much as she did. And Dana knew Caroline would never voluntarily walk away. Caroline had received too much from Hanover House. It was a debt Caroline would try to repay until the day she died.
Dana swallowed hard. Bad choice of words. Or maybe not. Her best friend might have died yesterday and if she had, Dana would have lost something bigger than herself. Therefore, sometime in the last few hours, she’d decided that the only way to keep Caroline from the work was to move the work away from Caroline.
I’ll leave Chicago. It was a terrifying thought, leaving behind all she knew. Now she knew how her clients felt. It was a humbling realization.
David had been silent for a long stretch. “Did you hear me?” she said. “I’ll be making changes. Caroline and Evie won’t be in danger anymore.”
David turned then, his eyes sad. “I heard you,” he said quietly. “I know what you’ve done for Caroline and for women like her. And for my brother and my family I’m grateful. But not enough to see you get hurt, or worse. One of these days it’s going to be me or Evie or, God forbid, Caroline, who finds you beaten to death on your living-room floor.”
Dana flinched, the image he’d purposely conjured hitting way too close to home. “You cross the line, David.”
“I’m your friend, Dana. I’m allowed to cross the line.”
“Not that one.”
He stood up, jaw taut. “Well, now I know where I stand, at least.”
“David, wait.” But he gestured for her to be quiet and headed for the door.
“No, it’s all right, Dana. I’m going home for a while. Tell Max if he comes looking for me.”
And he was gone, leaving her alone in the deserted waiting room. Her pager buzzed again on her hip and wearily she checked the number. It was Evie, again. She’d buzzed five times in the last three hours, but never with their emergency 911 code, so Dana had waited until Caroline’s crisis was over.
r /> With a sigh she pulled Ethan’s cell phone from her pocket. Stared at the pretty numbers. Punched in the number for Hanover House. Listened in the top and talked in the bottom. And remembering, smiled wistfully. “Evie, it’s Dana.”
“What number are you calling from?”
Caller ID. At least Evie would have the number now. “My . . . my new cell phone.”
Evie laughed in disbelief. “Where did you get a cell phone, Miss Skinflint?”
The taunt was not in jest. She and Evie had some things to work out. “It was a gift. You can use it from now on if you want to get in touch with me.”
“Is Caro okay?”
“She is. So is the baby.” For now. “What’s up?”
“It’s Jane and Erik.”
Dana sighed. “What about them?” And she listened as Evie explained her concerns. Then frowned as Evie related the latest. The missing Benadryl.
“I should have just dispensed a dose, but I was upset over Lillian. It’s not an excuse.”
“It’s okay. It’s not like we don’t all make mistakes. Is he awake now?”
“Not really. Just groggy and he stares like I’m not getting through. I have no idea how much she gave him. His heartbeat seems normal though.”
Dana checked her watch. “Dr. Lee is coming over this afternoon. Where is Jane now?”
“Job hunting.”
“Call Dr. Lee and ask if he can come a bit earlier. I’d like him to take a look at Erik without Jane around. He should be bringing Erik some new epilepsy medicine. Maybe that’s why Jane was using the Benadryl—because she was out of his meds.”
Evie was silent for a second. “Do you really think so?”
Dana sighed again. Thought about the little scars on Jane’s arms, the hostile, explosive glare that had hardened in her translucent eyes when she’d realized Dana had seen them. They were three for three on Jane. She, Caroline, and now Evie. “No. Tell Dr. Lee that, too. Oh, and, Evie? Nice work. Really, really nice work.”
Another silence, one of surprise this time. “Thanks. I needed to hear that. Dana, you sound tired. I can handle this here. Why don’t you go to your place and get some sleep?”

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Does the idea of a cross-racial friendship in the era of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) sound outlandish? If so, why? At least part of the answer lies in what we think we know about the history of racial justice advocacy in the United States, especially when it involves collaboration between whites and African Americans. Most of the scholarship about cross-racial collaboration has highlighted the white paternalism that marred it. This focus, growing out of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1960s, originated as a necessary corrective to previous historiography, much of which had uncritically glorified white progressives,1 overlooked the racism many...

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