Spoilers: Throwing Heat specifically but all episodes up to that one are fair game.
The first thought that goes through Carmen Henney's mind when she discovers that someone has broken into her house is that no one at the Miami-Dade crime lab will believe her. Not after how she's been treating Eric Delko. What they don't know, though, is that she didn't have a choice in that. Her husband was a controlling asshole and he threatened her life if she didn't go along with his plan.
Sure she could have dropped the case after he died but by then she needed the money. Her husband had cut her off from everything and everyone. Every cent she had made at her sucky minimum wage job had gone to him and his wants. Most days she was lucky if he let her eat more than one meal.
She knows this means she was an abused woman but for her it was a much better life than what she would have had without him.
Not feeling comfortable waiting for the cops to show, she decides to not call 911 and instead goes to the crime lab to report the break-in.
It's been a little over a year since the whole thing with Vince and she hasn't even been near that part of town since. But even so, she's slightly taken aback by the strength of the negative feelings directed her way from every person she passes on her way to the desk. She's used to being pitied and even hated, but for some reason knowing that the people she needs right now don't like her is making it difficult for her to hold her head up.
But she manages it with the same pride that forces her to mend her clothes herself instead of using a seamstress and steps up to the pretty blonde woman sitting behind the receptionist desk, smiling her most charming smile. "How may I assist you?" The question may be polite but the tone is definitely not.
Carmen sighs, realizing that even this woman hates her. "Yes. I'd like to report a crime."
"What kind of crime?" The woman's tone implies she doesn't believe there had been a crime.
Carmen leans closer and lets her voice take on an edge of fear. "Someone broke into my house."
The woman's lips thin and Carmen knows she's thinks she's lying. "Why didn't you call 911?"
"I was too scared to stay there. What if they were still in my house?"
"The responding officers could have apprehended them in the act and they would have gone to prison. But now the crime scene investigators will have to examine your house for evidence and then connect that evidence to a person and then there will be a trial." She shuffles some papers on her desk before looking back up. "Sign in-" She pushes the visitor log along with a pen and a visitor badge toward Carmen. "-and have a seat. The next available officer will be with you as soon as possible to take your statement."
Carmen signs the log and clips the badge to her jacket while making her way to the padded bench against the wall next to the elevators. She knows she'll most likely be sitting here for a while and wishes she had thought to bring something to keep busy with. With a sigh, she sits down on the bench and crosses one leg over the other, sneaking a look at her watch.
Time passes extremely slowly and Carmen is afraid she's going to fall asleep if someone doesn't come take her statement soon. Anger begins building in her gut and she's about to get up and leave when a middle-aged man with red hair approaches. "Mrs. Henney?" he asks, holding out one hand for her to shake.
"Yes," she answers, standing and shaking his hand.
"I'm Lieutenant Caine and I'll be taking your statement today." He steps back and extends one arm toward a hall that leads to glass walled offices. "If you'll follow me, we'll find somewhere private to talk."
Carmen follows him from the reception area and stubbornly ignores the glares she's getting from the people they're passing. She knows they probably hate her for turning Detective Delko's good deed into a civil suit but knows that they don't know the whole story, just his side of it. Not that that makes what Vince did right but it is what it is.
Horatio ushers her into an office that looks more like an interrogation room than anything and Carmen wonders briefly if he thinks she's done something wrong. "Please have a seat, Mrs. Henney," he says, his voice rolling smoothly over her and soothing her nerves. "Before we begin, would you care for something to drink?"
"I wouldn't mind some water. Thank you, Lieutenant."
"I'll be right back." He exits the room and she turns in her chair to watch him walk across the hall into the only room with opaque walls which she guesses must be the break room. He returns within a few minutes with a bottle of water. "Here you go." He hands it to her with a smile.
She accepts the bottle from him with a smile of her own, twists off the cap and takes a sip. He takes a seat in the chair facing her across the table, pulls a pad of paper toward him, uncaps a pen and says, "Tell me what happened."
Carmen clears her throat. "When I got home from running errands I noticed that someone had broken into my house."
He nods while jotting down what she's saying. "Were there signs of forced entry?"
She winces. "No. I left an upstairs window open."
He makes a sympathetic noise. "Did they take anything?"
She bites her lip. This is so not going how it does on TV. "I really didn't look."
Horatio looks up at her through his lashes. "Then how do you know someone broke in?"
"It's really difficult to explain, Lieutenant." She sighs deeply and pushes back from the table. "I knew it was a mistake to come here. You're not going to believe me."
"Mrs. Henney," Horatio calls, jumping up from his seat and grabbing her arm to keep her from exiting the room. "Please, just tell me why you think someone broke into your house."
Carmen eyes him for a couple of seconds before flicking her hair over her shoulder. "You know who I am, yes?"
"Yes, I know who you are but that doesn't mean your house wasn't broken into."
Carmen retakes her seat, sitting stiffly on the edge of the chair. "I have a table of knick-knacks under the window that was open. It was very obvious that they had been moved."
Horatio picks up the pad of paper and stands. "I'll send a couple of my best crime scene investigators to your house. Please don't enter it until they arrive."
"Thank you, Lieutenant." She allows him to escort her back to the reception area where she turns in her badge.
Horatio holds out his hand. "Two of my team will be at your house within an hour. One of them will walk the house with you. Please take your time and be very sure if anything is missing."
"I really appreciate it, Lieutenant," Carmen says, turning toward the elevators.
Horatio watches her go. He has an urge to pass her complaint off to swing shift but his strong work ethic won't let him.
"Isn't she the one whose husband sued Detective Delko, Lieutenant?" The question pulls Horatio from his thoughts.
"Yes, Paula, she's the one."
"Do you believe her?"
He shrugs. "Whether or not I believe her is irrelevant. Just because she backed her husband in something we don't agree with doesn't mean someone didn't actually break into her house."
Paula nods in agreement. She's a cop and knows that just because she doesn't like someone doesn't mean they're lying, even if she thinks they are. "You're not going to send Detective Delko, are you?"
"Of course not. I'm not sure who I'll send, but it definitely won't be Eric."
As he walks back to the labs, Horatio mentally reviews the current schedule of available CSIs, wincing when he realizes that Eric is at the top of the list. He doesn't like skipping over people, there's an order for a reason, but he feels fairly confident that no one, especially Eric, will complain.
Entering the break room, he finds the CSI whose name is second on the list: Calleigh Duquesne. Calleigh and Eric have a close friendship but Horatio is confident she won't let that bias her against a potential victim. "Calleigh," he says, taking a seat in the chair opposite where Calleigh's sitting, eating her lunch.
"Horatio," she says back, smiling at her boss. "Want some?" she asks, offering him a carrot stick.
He just barely refrains from wrinkling his nose at her offer. "No, thank you." He doesn't usually have a problem speaking with his team but this case is different. Calleigh waits patiently for him to tell her why he sought her out, worrying just a bit at the fact that he appears to be at a loss for words. "I know that Eric is supposed to catch the next case but I think you should handle it, instead."
Her perfectly plucked brows lower over her pert nose in confusion. It's not like Horatio to take a case away from the next person in line. "Did Eric do something that he's being punished for?"
Horatio shakes his head. "No, nothing like that. The case…" He clears his voice and pushes the pad of paper with his notes on it toward her, not able to actually say it aloud.
She takes one look at the name and draws in a sharp breath. "I see," she says with a nod. "I'll handle it." She stands and begins cleaning up her lunch.
"Calleigh," Horatio calls her back when she goes to exit the room. "Treat her as you would any other alleged victim." Calleigh nods sharply. There was no need for him to tell her that. She's a professional and knows how to keep her personal feelings out of her investigations. "And take Mr. Wolfe with you."
"Of course, Horatio." Calleigh exits the break room, silently fuming over this turn of events.
Carmen Henney and her husband, Vince, are the reason Eric has had to move back in with his parents. Their unfair lawsuit caused Eric to sign over twenty-five percent of his wages just to avoid a trial; and all because he was protecting her from her husband's wrath. It's people like them that make others hesitant to act when they see someone in need of assistance from an assailant.
'What I wouldn't give to show her just what Eric's life is like now,' Calleigh thinks, searching the lab for Ryan Wolfe.
She finally finds him in the locker room, changing clothes. "Dumpster diving, again, Ryan?" she asks with a laugh.
He throws a glare her way but she knows he's not really angry. For all that he was an outsider when he joined the team so soon after Tim's death, he has more than proved he's one of them now. "Blame it on the stupid perp. He tossed evidence into one that hadn't been emptied in nearly a week."
She wrinkles her nose as she imagines not only the smell but the slimy feel of all that rotting food and garbage. "Well, now that you're all clean, we have a case."
His head snaps up from where he's tying his shoes. "But Eric's at the top of the list."
"I know but this isn't one he can work." She hands him the paper with Horatio's notes.
Ryan's lips thin in anger at the name at the top. "Why can't we just ignore her?"
Calleigh sighs. "We can't let our personal feelings get in the way, Ryan. You know this. Everyone deserves justice even if we think they don't."
"And if we find that her claim is false?"
She shrugs. "We can't go in there thinking like that, Ryan. We have to stay objective and work it just like any other."
"Yeah, all right," he mutters standing and following her from the room.
The drive is made in near silence, not that Calleigh and Ryan don't get along; his first case as a CSI was investigating a hit and run that she thought her father was involved in. The way he kept her informed as to his findings the whole time earned him a permanent place on her list of friends. No, the ride is silent because they're both thinking about how karma can be a bitch and if Carmen's claim that someone broke into her house does prove false they should see about getting her settlement reduced, or even dismissed, based on her unreliability as a witness.
When they pull up to the curb in front of the address listed in the report, they both feel anger at the fact that Carmen is living the good life while their friend and co-worker has had to move back in with his parents. "It's not fair, Calleigh," Ryan states, climbing down from the Hummer and grabbing his kit from the backseat. "Why does she get to live here-" He flings one arm out toward the expensive house. "-when Eric has to live in his childhood room?"
"Hush, Ryan," Calleigh chides, following suit in sliding to the ground and grabbing her kit. "I know it's unfair but there's nothing we can do."
Ryan grumbles something under his breath that Calleigh doesn't hear and slips his professional mask into place when Carmen approaches. "You must be the detectives Lieutenant Caine sent."
"Yes." Calleigh holds out her hand. "I'm Calleigh Duquesne and this Ryan Wolfe."
Carmen shakes hands with both of them. "I know you probably don't want this assignment-" she begins but Calleigh talks over her. "Not at all, Mrs. Henney. All reports of a crime are thoroughly investigated."
"So you'll treat this just like any other case?" This is the main thing Carmen's worried about: that the detectives won't take her claim seriously and will just pretend to examine the scene.
"We are professionals, Mrs. Henney," Ryan answers her question, just barely keeping his contempt for the alleged victim from his tone.
Seeing the exchange heading south, Calleigh falls back on her upbringing and puts on her most charming smile. Deepening her accent, she turns to Ryan and says, "Ryan? Why don't you check out the perimeter while Mrs. Henney shows me around the inside."' When Ryan hesitates she tilts her head and raises her eyebrows.
Ryan frowns at the alleged victim before turning back to Calleigh. "Okay. Call me if you need anything." His tone brooks no argument and she nods, widening her smile into a grin before turning back to Carmen.
"If you'll lead the way, Mrs. Henney?" Calleigh indicates the house with a nod of her head.
Carmen looks from Calleigh to Ryan and back before squaring her shoulders and turning on her heel to lead the way through the garage and into the house. Calleigh stops her at the door with a hand to her arm. "We should wear these," Calleigh says, holding out a pair of booties like what doctors wear in operating rooms. Carmen follows Calleigh's lead and removes her shoes before slipping the booties on her feet.
Calleigh swallows an impressed whistle upon seeing the inside of Carmen's house. The door from the garage opens into the open-flow kitchen/dining room/living room. A short hall to the left leads to a formal sitting area past which Calleigh can see the glass paneled front door. The kitchen is what realtors call gourmet. The staircase leading up to the second floor is a floating stair design and the wall looking out over the infinity pool is solid glass.
Carmen leads the way up the stairs, turning left on a little landing, left again, past a half-bath, up three more steps and into a comfortable sitting area that is obviously where Carmen spends most of her time. The couches to the left, facing the fifty-four inch flat-screen are over-stuffed and appear to be well used. The side table with the small table lamp holds a small stack of well-worn books and marks the spot where Carmen sits the most.
"As you can see, that window is open and that table full of knick-knacks proves someone entered while I was gone."
The window in question looks out over a faux balcony. The table under it has a candle set as well as small figurines that must hold some sentimental value for Carmen for them to be on display in this private area of her home. The carpet, however, between the obvious path through the area and the window itself has vacuum tracks showing that no one has walked on it in some time.
"Do you have a maid, Mrs. Henney?" Calleigh asks, shinning her flashlight at the area, looking for evidence to support the claim of a break-in.
"I wouldn't call her a maid," Carmen responds. "More like a cleaning person."
"Mmhm," Calleigh hums. "How often does she come?"
"She was here yesterday."
"I see." Calleigh sighs, clicking off her flashlight and turning to face Carmen. "Surely you can understand why there's some doubt? The floor shows no evidence of being disturbed."
Carmen sighs as well. "Yes, I understand. However, that doesn't negate the fact that I know someone entered my house."
"Was anything taken?"
Carmen shakes her head. "When I saw that the items on that table had been moved, I left the house and drove straight to the police station."
Calleigh bites her tongue to keep from correcting her in that she went to the crime lab and not the police station and that she should have gone to the precinct. "Would you please take a look? I mean it's obvious they didn't take the TV…"
"Of course." Carmen spins on her heel and marches along the path down the hall to the double doors behind which is the master suite.
Carmen opens the door on the left and ushers Calleigh over the threshold. The color scheme of cream on cream is carried out even here with only a splash of color in the throw pillows piled at the head of the overly large four poster bed that dominates the room. Carmen steps to the antique dresser and opens the lid on an ornate jewelry box. A small cry escapes when she sees that the box is completely empty.
"Did you have any expensive pieces?" Calleigh asks, shining her flashlight around the room.
"Some. Most, though, were costume pieces that only had sentimental value." Calleigh can hear how hard Carmen's fighting to not cry.
"I'll need to dust for prints. And take yours as a reference."
Carmen nods. "Of course. Please do whatever you need to."
A small smile of compassion flashes on Calleigh's face. "If you would please wait in the other room?" She waits for Carmen to nod in agreement and to step from the room before setting her kit down and pulling out her fingerprint powder and brush before slipping on a pair of gloves.
She starts with the doorknob, twirling the brush over the gleaming brass so that the powder falls and, hopefully, will land on the oils left behind by someone's hand. When a print appears, she lifts it with the ease of having spent years doing the same thing. She then moves on to the dresser, repeating the process of dusting the surface where a person might have placed their hand. Only a few clear prints appear, it's obvious that Carmen usually swipes her hand across the surface. On the jewelry box, Calleigh finds a couple more prints, in the spots where she saw Carmen touch to lift the lid. She expects those will be Carmen's but you never know, there could be another underneath.
Since it's obvious that whoever entered Carmen's house and stole her jewelry found another way out of the house, and covered their tracks, Calleigh begins looking around the bedroom and attached bathroom. In a closet in that was obviously once a separate bedroom, Calleigh finds a vacuum cleaner. A quick dusting finds several smudged prints and a few clear ones. Calleigh then goes back and dusts all surfaces someone might touch when looking for valuable things.
But one question won't leave her alone: why would the perpetrator bypass the TV and expensive looking entertainment system in the other room for just the jewelry, especially when there's no guarantee that all the jewelry will be worth anything? Calleigh can't help but think that Carmen may have pawned her own jewelry, for whatever reason, and is now trying to file a false insurance claim in order to get even more money. Or maybe she didn't even pawn it; maybe she's just hidden it so she can claim it's been stolen.
Calleigh's phone begins to ring while she's packing up her kit. "What did you find, Ryan?" She tucks the phone between her ear and her shoulder so she can continue to put her things away.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The flowerbed under the window is wet, indicating the sprinklers ran earlier today but there's not a single footprint in the mud, nor is there evidence that someone removed a footprint."
Calleigh heaves a deep sigh. "Only thing missing is her jewelry. She says she only has a few expensive pieces and that most are costume pieces that only hold sentimental value."
"Most robbers will take all the jewelry and sort it out later. But then again, even costume jewelry can fetch a nice price at a pawn shop."
"True, but they completely ignored the obviously expensive TV and entertainment system in the room they allegedly entered the house through."
"Huh. That does change things a bit." He clears his throat and Calleigh knows he's thinking the same thing she is. "But you know what H would say."
"Yes, I do," Calleigh grumbles. "I'll get her to get a list of the missing pieces so we can check the pawn shops. Meet you out by the truck." She presses her thumb against the off button and picks up her kit before exiting the bedroom, heading for the sitting area where she can see Carmen pacing in a tight circle. "Mrs. Henney?" Calleigh calls softly so as not to startle her too much.
Despite the soft tone, Carmen stills jumps a bit when Calleigh calls her name from behind her. "Oh, Detective Duquesne,-" She puts one hand to her chest just below her collarbone. "-you startled me. All done, then?"
"I just need to dust the table and window sill and then we'll be finished." Carmen nods and hovers just over Calleigh's shoulder while she once again removes her fingerprint powder and brush in preparation of dusting the table and its contents as well as the window sill.
"Did you find anything in my room?"
"I did find a few prints. Once I'm done here, I'll take your prints for comparison."
"Of course. How long do you think it'll take?"
"For what, Mrs. Henney?" Finished dusting the table and window, Calleigh repacks the powder and brush, then removes the fingerprinting kit before turning back to face Carmen.
"Before you have a suspect." Carmen sits down on the couch and holds out one hand.
Calleigh begins inking the fingers of Carmen's hand and rolling them onto the ten-card. "That's difficult to say. If we find any prints that are not yours, and if those prints are in the system it won't take long. But those are both big 'if's."
"And if only my prints are found?"
"Well, considering you have a person who cleans your house, I think we'll most likely find hers along with yours."
"Of course! You'll need her prints, too. Right?"
"Yes. If you could get her address for us? As well as a descriptive list of the jewelry taken?" Calleigh hands Carmen a wet wipe to clean the ink off her fingers.
"I don't know the woman's home address but she's from a service."
"If you would, please, get that address and her boss' name as well as hers?"
Carmen jumps up from the couch. "Of course. It's all downstairs in my office."
Calleigh follows Carmen back down the stairs, through the living room and into a tiny closet sized room that holds a simple office desk with an older model computer terminal sitting off to one side. Carmen rounds the desk and sits in the chair before turning the computer on. A couple of minutes later the even older printer is spitting out a piece of paper with the requested information on it.
"Will there be anything else, Detective?" Carmen asks, handing Calleigh the paper and escorting her back to the garage door.
Calleigh scans the paper and notes that Carmen took the time to describe some of the missing jewelry. "Not at this time." She turns so that Carmen can see the paper over her shoulder. "Is this all the jewelry that's missing?" she asks because the list seems rather small when compared to the size of the jewelry box.
"Those are the more expensive pieces and a few of the ones that hold the most sentimental value to me. Not sure I can describe the rest since I don't wear them very often."
"So these are the pieces you wear the most?"
Calleigh nods. "Very well. We'll pass this list around and let you know what we find. In the mean time, let your insurance company know that we'll get them a report as soon as we can."
Carmen smiles her thanks. "Thank you, Detective. I know you probably don't like me for what I've done to Detective Delko-" she begins but Calleigh cuts her off.
"We're not going to discuss that. The one has nothing to do with the other." Calleigh's tone is crisp and quivers just slightly with her repressed anger over this woman's attempt to apologize for ruining Eric's life.
Carmen lowers her eyes. "Of course." She glances up in time to see the look of hatred that flashes across Ryan's face. "Thank you, again, for being professional and taking the time to investigate this."
"It's not our job to determine who's telling the truth about being the victim of a crime, Mrs. Henney," Ryan snaps, he's not as successful as Calleigh in keeping his feelings for Carmen from his tone. "Everyone who reports a crime is treated equally. We let the evidence speak for itself."
"Well, anyway, thank you."
Calleigh puts her kit in the back of the Hummer and opens the passenger door, before turning back to face Carmen. "We'll be in touch, Mrs. Henney. Just remember, this isn't TV. Investigations take more than a few hours. Sometimes they take years. Hopefully yours will only take a few days, weeks at the most."
"So you'll keep me appraised?"
"We'll do our best." Calleigh smiles at her one more time before climbing into the Hummer and slamming the door.
"So, you think she's trying to file a false insurance claim?" Ryan asks while carefully maneuvering the Hummer into traffic.
"Wouldn't be the first time she's filed a false claim." Calleigh flips her hair over her shoulder. She really wants to believe Carmen. Really, she does. But she's finding it difficult after how she's treated Eric. She thinks she must be too naïve since she's positive that if she was in Carmen's position she would have dropped the lawsuit after her husband died. But then again she holds herself to rather high standards and tends to expect others to as well. It's been a source of much frustration over the years.
"Are you going to tell Eric?" Ryan's question pulls Calleigh out of her thoughts and she realizes with a start that they're almost back to the lab.
"I suppose I should. Before someone else does. Unless Horatio's already done so."
She sees Ryan shake his head from the corner of her eye. "I don't think he would. You know how protective H can be. I bet you he thinks Eric should never be told."
Calleigh rolls her eyes. "As if he can keep something like this from him, especially with the way the lab assistants gossip! You know everyone'll be talking about her showing up here today."
"Yeah. I guess you're right." Ryan parks the truck and climbs down from the cab, grabbing his kit from the backseat. "I sure don't envy you right now!" he calls over his shoulder, walking away with a spring in his step.
Calleigh grumbles under her breath while exiting the truck and grabbing her kit before making her way into the lab. Knowing that the chain of command requires her to begin processing the evidence she collected right away, she heads straight for one of the labs, studiously not looking for Eric in the labs she passes. She knows that once he hears, he'll search her out and it's not going to be pretty when he does.
Normally Eric would be the one she'd take fingerprint evidence to but since this is a case he can't work, she processes them herself. And as she suspected, most of them match Carmen. The unknowns will be compared to the maid's once she receives them from the service. And that thought reminds her that she needs to call and get them, along with the maid's address. But before she has a chance to move even one step toward the phone, she's interrupted by Eric.
"Hey, Cal," he greets her.
"Oh, hey, Eric," she responds with a smile.
"I heard that you and Ryan went on a call earlier." Hurt tinges his voice and she mentally winces.
"Yeah, about that-" She turns to lean one hip against the table. "-it's Carmen Henney." His mouth drops open in a silent 'Oh' of surprise. "Since you can't work it, Horatio skipped over you. But you got the next one, promise!"
Eric slowly nods his head. "Yeah, okay. I understand why I was skipped." He turns to go but before he gets to the door, he spins back around to face her. "Is she telling the truth this time?"
"Oh, Eric," Calleigh sighs. "You know I can't tell you that."
He nods again. "Yeah, I know. Not sure if I want it to be true or not," he mumbles, exiting the lab and leaving Calleigh to finish processing her evidence.
With a sigh, Calleigh puts away her evidence, wishing she knew how to help Eric. When she first found out he was moving back in with his parents her first thought was to offer her spare room. But she quickly discarded it knowing that he'd never accept. For some reason he feels it's a bigger insult to his masculine pride to live with a woman he once dated - is dating - hell, she doesn't even know anymore. All she really knows is if Carmen's claim of theft proves to be false, she's going straight to ASA Rebecca Nevins and requesting her suit against Eric be dismissed and for her to repay every cent he's paid her over the past year.
Once the evidence is securely locked away in the evidence room, she calls Carmen's house cleaning service and asks to speak with the owner. Twenty minutes later and she's standing by the fax machine, tapping her foot impatiently.
"Hey, Cal," Ryan says, stopping just behind her.
She startles a bit, then spins to playfully slap his arm. "You scared me."
Ryan chuckles. "Sorry. Just wanted to see where you are with your evidence."
"Just waiting on the cleaning service to fax the needed information," she replies a split second before the machine comes to life and begins spitting out pages with the names, addresses, phone numbers, work visas and fingerprints of all the employees. Picking the paper up off the tray, Calleigh turns to Ryan. "I'll let you know once I've compared the fingerprints."
He nods. "I can help you run background on the employees, if ya want."
"Thanks, Ryan." She hands him some of the names. "Let me know what you find out."
"Sure thing." He turns and walks back to his lab.
A couple of hours later, Ryan joins Calleigh in Horatio's office to bring their boss up to speed on their findings.
"All the prints I lifted belong to Mrs. Henney and a couple of the maids. The service said that if Monica, the woman who usually cleans Mrs. Henney's house, was out they'd send over another maid who either needed the extra pay or who was available for whatever reason," Calleigh begins.
Horatio nods his understanding. "Mr. Wolfe? What did you find out?"
"None of the employees have a record. Some are in debt - but who isn't these days, right? - but none of them have had large unsubstantiated deposits. Of course the theft did just happen so."
"So it's possible they haven't had time to pawn the jewelry," Horatio finishes Ryan's thought. Both Calleigh and Ryan agree. Horatio shifts in his chair. He may not particularly like the woman but that doesn't mean that someone didn't break into her house, or leave the window open and move the items on the table around to make it look like someone broke in. "I want you to talk to all the people who have cleaned her house. Find out if anyone has a relative capable of coercing them into doing this. If that doesn't turn anyone up, we'll call it on lack of evidence."
Taking Horatio's words for the dismissal they are, Ryan and Calleigh leave his office. "I guess I'll take half the names and you take the other half?" Ryan suggests.
"Sounds good. If one of us comes across a name that looks suspicious we'll pull them in and question them together?"Calleigh counters.
"Absolutely," Ryan agrees before heading back to his lab.
The next three days are spent investigating everyone in the lives of the employees of Minute Maid Cleaning Service. Calleigh and Ryan are not surprised when nothing important to their investigation turns up.
After turning her report over to Horatio, Calleigh heads to Carmen's house to let her know the investigation has stalled due to inconclusive evidence.
"Detective, you said on the phone you have something to tell me?" Carmen says, opening the door wider and inviting Calleigh in.
"Thank you for agreeing to see me, Mrs. Henney." Calleigh steps over the threshold and follows Carmen down the hall into the kitchen where it's obvious she was making her lunch.
"Would you care for something to eat or drink?"
"No, thank you." Calleigh hitches one hip up on a stool at the island bar. "There's no way to say this other than flat out-" Calleigh pauses to clear her throat. "I'm afraid there is inconclusive evidence of a break-in and theft."
Carmen's head snaps up from where she's bent over the counter, making herself a salad. "So what does that mean?"
"It means that we're going to have close the case. I'm sorry."
"I understand. Thank you for coming to tell me in person." Carmen's tone indicates that she doesn't fully understand and Calleigh wouldn't be surprised if she thinks they've purposely stalled the investigation due to her suit against Eric.
Calleigh slides off the stool. "If there's anything else I can do for you…" She hands Carmen her card.
"I think I'm being watched." The statement is so very much from left field that Calleigh actually blinks at her before pulling a small notepad from her purse.
"Tell me why you think that."
"Well, in the past week the same car has driven past my house, real slow, several times in a row. And I've seen the same car following me around town."
"How do you know it's the same car?"
"It has a Rosary hanging from the rearview mirror."
"Did you happen to see the license plate number?" Calleigh doesn't mention that there are lots of cars around with a Rosary hanging from the rearview mirror.
Carmen shakes her head, her shoulders slumping. "No. I only ever see it from the front or side."
Calleigh clicks her pen closed and stifles a sigh. "Next time you see it, please try and get the plate number. It'll help us track down the owner and find out for sure."
"Thank you, Detective." Carmen escorts Calleigh back up the hall to the front door. "I'll call once I've managed to get that plate number."
Calleigh shakes Carmen's hand. "If a new lead comes up, I'll call."
"Again, thank you," Carmen says quietly leading Calleigh out onto the front porch.
Calleigh hands her a business card. "Call me anytime. I mean it. If you feel at all unsafe, don't hesitate to call. That split second pause could mean the difference between you being a victim or being a survivor."
Carmen takes the card and stares at the neat black text on the white card stock with unseeing eyes. "Thank you, Detective."
"You're welcome." Calleigh places one hand on Carmen's arm in a gesture of reassurance before getting in her truck and driving off.
Carmen clutches the business card in her hand like it's a lifeline while she watches the pretty blonde detective drive away, taking her sense of security with her. With a sigh, Carmen turns to enter the house when she gets the feeling that she's being watched. A quick glance over her shoulder confirms her fears: parked at the curb is a now very familiar black car with a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror.
She begins to fumble in her pockets for her phone when the passenger window begins to slowly lower. Before she even has time to realize that she's left her phone inside on the kitchen counter, the muzzle of a gun, disguised by a silencer, is poked out of the crack in the window and shortly after that a bullet enters her brain and turns her world eternally dark.