I wanted to throw up.
Today had been my first official hostage negotiation, and I’d thoroughly bombed it.
So thoroughly that a five year old was dead, and I was to blame.
“You okay, man?” Bennett asked.
I nodded. “Fine.”
He watched me for a long couple of seconds before nodding and heading to his own locker to get out of his gear.
I’d already gotten out of mine, mostly because I hadn’t gone in with the rest of the team. I’d stayed behind to talk to the man that had been holding his daughter hostage.
When he left, I didn’t even notice.
I was too lost in my own thoughts and failures to pay attention to the comings and goings of the team. The team who had to go in debriefing from having witnessed the gang-style killing of a five year old.
I was by myself for maybe ten more minutes before Chief Rhodes came in carrying a bottle of Jack Daniels and a couple of Dixie cups.
He grabbed a chair as he entered, pulling it up until he was directly in front of me.
His eyes were downcast as I searched his face for a hint of his mood, but it gave me nothing.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Your captain sent me over to keep you company.”
He always knew when his team members needed help.
Now, though, I was a little less than willing to take his mothering. I just wanted to be left the fuck alone.
“Can you tell me about what happened?” He asked.
I just shook my head.
No, I most assuredly did not want to talk about it. Not now, and not a week from now.
Which was why I was avoiding going home to the woman who would make it her mission to find out what was wrong with me.
So, he took me for my word, poured me a shot, and sat with me so I wasn’t alone.
He sat with me so long that nearly half of the bottle was gone before I even realized it, and I was well on my way to being smashed.
It was good, though, because the sick death rattle of that little girl’s last breath didn’t bother my drunk brain anywhere near as bad as it did my sober one.
Score one for me.