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Detective Pete Gibbons had only been asleep four hours when the mobile phone on his nightstand started to ring. The phone had to go off a few times before he finally started to emerge from his slumber. With a loud groan, he reached over and grabbed the small device. It wasn’t work calling. Wrong ringtone. He had programmed the phone to ring with a specific ringtone for each contact on his list so he’d know exactly who was calling. This particular ringtone was dark and ominous, which meant it was someone he didn’t want to speak with: his ex-wife. He also knew she was going to keep calling over and over again until he finally answered.
“Hello?” he said in a tone that acted like he had no idea who was calling him.
“Pete, we need to talk,” his ex-wife Gabby quickly declared. No hello or how are you doing; just we need to talk. For all the money he was giving her in alimony and child support, you’d think she’d show some manners. But alas, she was not in a small talk kind of mood. Pete didn’t need to be a detective to know what that meant. What Gabby really meant was that she was going to tell him off and he was going to lie there and take it.
“Gabby, I was trying to sleep,” he finally replied.
“This can’t wait,” she harshly scolded him.
Nothing could ever wait with that woman. Pete sat up and prepared himself for the coming barrage, bracing himself for the next wave of constant nagging. This was one of many reasons why she was now his ex-wife.
“What is it this time?” Pete asked.
“The nanny is increasing her prices!” she cried. “Can you believe this shit?”
“I do. She was kind of due for a raise,” Pete replied, relived he wasn’t the source of her anger this morning. “I’d rather give her a few extra bucks than have to go through the process again.”
“Where will you get the money?” Gabby asked.
“I’m getting a raise at work anyway,” Pete informed her. “So, I’ll cover that along with my half. Will that be all right?”
“A raise?” Gabby repeated. “When were you going to tell me about this extra income you’d be getting?”
“I only found out yesterday.” Pete wiped the sleep from his eyes. “This is the first time we’ve talked since then, and I’m telling you now.”
“Are you alright?” she suddenly asked. It didn’t occur to her that he might be tired, despite the fact he already told her.
“Gabby, I was up most of the night working, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to bed,” Pete said as politely as he could. “I will call you if there are any changes, but I’ll talk to you tomorrow when I come to pick up the kids. Okay?”
“Alright,” Gabby conceded. She didn’t have much ground to stand on since Pete had already agreed to cover the new raise. Sometimes it seemed like she was eager to pick a fight for any reason, but this time she was willing to let it go and let him get back to sleep. Usually she was like a pit bull with a bone.
“Goodbye Gabby,” Pete said as he disconnected the line and hung up on her. Listening to her bitch about the world was no longer a part of his job description. She would have to find someone else to listen to her complain about how life was unfair, which was complete bullshit. Kids starving in Africa or people living in a war zone were the real people suffering. Her melodramatics were another reason why he chose to end his marriage, that and the fact that she couldn’t stop sleeping around. He had no intention of being around someone who couldn’t live up to her vows nor remain loyal to someone she claimed to love. To Pete that wasn’t love; that was betrayal. Sharing the same room with the one who broke his heart just wasn’t an option.
Pete put the phone back on the nightstand and then laid back on the pillow and tried to go back to sleep. Before he could even close his eyes, his phone started to ring again. From the ringtone, he could tell it was work. Police dispatch was calling, but he wasn’t in the mood to play along. He had been working all night, so they had no right to call him back in so soon.
He let it go, aware that dispatch would just have to call someone else to take care of whatever was going on. He ignored the phone, and it stopped ringing seconds later. He tried to go back to sleep again, but the phone just didn’t want to leave him alone. This time, the ringtone screamed a new tune at him, one he knew couldn’t be ignored. He sat up and picked the cell up off the nightstand.
“Gibbons, why aren’t you answering your damn phone!” snapped Darcy McManus, Captain of Homicide and Pete’s boss. “We’ve been trying to reach you for the past hour.”
Pete checked the time; it had been less than twenty minutes since dispatch called but he let it pass. “I was up until four doing the paperwork you asked me to finish. I’m trying to sleep.”