"Hey, woman! Where do you get off stealing people's kids from them? Huh?"
The shout came from behind her. She turned to see Jack Wachowski, the father from upstairs, lurking behind one of the pillars at the top of the stairs. He'd lost his overcoat and tie somewhere between the courtroom and outside. His graying hair was rumpled. He'd never been an attractive man, but the wild look in his eyes made him almost frightening.
A quick glance reminded her the doors were closed. And locked.
"Mr. Wachowski, I really shouldn't speak to you while you're represented by counsel." While ethically true, the statement was actually a maneuver to buy time.
"Don't need a mouthpiece to deal with you." He put his right hand in the front pocket of his suit jacket.
In a move born more of instinct than intent, Suzanne raised her solid-sided black briefcase so it blocked her torso. If he was going to take a shot--
The interruption drew her attention, as well as that of Mr. Wachowski. Coming up the steps from the sidewalk, almost as though he were riding a white steed, was Nick Sansone. He ascended to the step where she stood, then took one more step, so he was almost directly between them. His trained eyes flicked between her to the man on the stairs above her and back.
"Everything all right here?" he asked.
Where had he come from?
Suzanne eyed Wachowski. His pale blue eyes never released her gaze, but she thought she saw doubt in them now. What did he have in his pocket? It could be a gun. It could be a wallet full of family photos. She cleared a throat that had tightened beyond speech and took a deep breath. "I think everything's fine. I believe Mr. Wachowski was just leaving."
Wachowski studied Sansone, jaw working as he decided what to do. Nick wasn't in uniform, but something about him conveyed an air of authority. Even Suzanne could feel it. Nick must be over six feet tall, those five or six inches' difference always forcing her to look up at him, putting her at a disadvantage.
What was he doing here--just when she needed him?