“I got this,” I said, as Travers grabbed the perp’s other arm and started muscling him into the station house.
“You sure, McConnell? He’s kind of a big guy.”
I felt the familiar twinge of annoyance but suppressed it in the interests of professionalism. Why did Travers have to keep proving himself to me? Or was it to the others on the squad? Did he really think I couldn’t handle one tall but scrawny pimp in handcuffs whose probable idea of a workout was standing on the street corner watching his girls work the street?
“Yeah, I’m sure. Now go get the paperwork started, would you?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he responded with just a bit of a smirk and dropped his hold on the perp.
I really needed to do something about this attitude. It was bad enough to have my squad mates wonder if I was up to the job of the downtown beat, but I really didn’t need my partner undermining my authority in front of the street punks we dealt with daily. When that happens, someone usually gets hurt, and I can tell you straight up, it wouldn’t be me. If a perp won’t back down because he thinks a female officer can’t handle him or will be intimidated, then things escalate and get dangerous in a hurry, and then it’s up to me to control the situation with whatever means necessary. Yeah, it was time for a little talk with Travers.
I got the perp to the booking desk, where at least Travers had got things started, and before too long we were done and headed to the back of the station for the end of our shift. I knew there wouldn’t likely be any other female officers nearby at this time, so with a quick glance to be sure no one was paying attention, I took a firm grip on Travers’ arm and pulled him into the women’s locker room.
He’s not that small of a guy, and he’s a cop, like me, so this depended on speed and surprise to pull off. That’s one of the benefits of being a woman in a physically demanding job: we know the limits of our strength and use our brains more than our brawn to get things done. The men were always overestimating themselves and getting hurt, straining muscles or their backs. I knew I couldn’t manhandle Travers into the locker room if he dug his heels in, so I had to catch him with his guard down.
It actually went easier than I expected. His mouth opened in surprise and he didn’t resist at all. Then he got that cocky grin on his face, and it didn’t take a degree in criminal psychology to predict what was coming next.
“McConnell, and here I thought you were the Ice Queen, yet all this time you’ve been wanting a piece of a real man.”
Oh, please. Yeah, he was easy on the eyes, but if he really thought I’d fall just for a trim physique with strong muscles and good grooming, he was deluding himself. Though, I had to admit, he really did take good care of himself, and it showed, even if the bulky vests we wore hid most of it. It had been a while…
Snap out of it, Eileen! Task at hand, girl! I pushed those unwelcome thoughts back down where they belonged, and then I pushed Travers against the lockers with a metallic clang, slamming against him, bullet-proof vest to bullet-proof vest. For just a moment I saw shock in his eyes, and a hint of uncertainty, and it emboldened me.
“Listen up, Travers, and listen up good. If I want a real man, I’ll find one. I don’t need that crap here at the station or on the beat. What I do need from you is a little more respect. I’ve been on the force long enough to know my way around, and we’ve been partners long enough for you to know that I carry my own weight. I don’t need you or any other man here to do my job for me, do you understand?”
“Whoa, McConnell, lighten up, I was just being friendly. I thought…”
“Do you understand? It’s a simple question.”
“Hey, babe, why’d you drag me in here, then? If you wanna get rough…”
I’d had enough. Before he could get another word out, I had a leg behind his and levered him around and down to the ground, pulling his arm behind his back as I followed him with a knee against his back. Before he finished gasping out the breath knocked out of him, I had drawn my cuffs and snapped one to his wrist, then I grabbed his other wrist and that was that. He was down and cuffed on the floor. I pushed up on his forearms, forcing his elbows wide, and leaned down close to his ear.
“Don’t you ever ‘hey babe’ me again, Travers, is that clear?”
He was either in shock or winded, because he had a funny look on his face and he only nodded.
“I think it’s time you understood the way things are going to be from now on. I’m not your ‘woman partner,’ I’m not a little girl who needs your help, and I’m not your Ice Queen either. I’m an officer of the law, and a damn good one, and as long as you are working with me… I’m going to call the shots. Is that clear?”
I felt a trickle of perspiration sliding down my skin under the bulky vest, and I was breathing a little more heavily than I should have been for such a quick takedown. I felt something coming off Travers that I couldn’t quite define. Not shock, not anger, but something else. Acquiescence. He wasn’t fighting me. A sense of power surged through me, and for the first time I couldn’t quite believe that I had just done this, taken down and cuffed a fellow officer, my partner. I stayed like that, laying across his back with my lips close to his ear, longer than really necessary to get my message across.
“Is that clear?” I asked again in a low voice directly into his ear. He took a long, deep breath.
“Yes,” he whispered.
This was almost too easy. I should’ve done this a long time before. That quickly, the man had become putty in my hands.
And I liked it.
<to be continued>