Marcus Taggert slowly chewed the last of his scrambled eggs and bacon. It wasn't as good as his mother's cooking, but it would suffice. He wasn't terribly hungry anyway.

The sound of a key in his front door drew the detective's attention from breakfast. Only two other human beings had free access to Marcus' home. He was curious as to which woman it would be.

“Marcus! You're up!” his mother cried. “I came over early to fix you some breakfast.” Florence put down her purse and keys and joined her son in the kitchen. She glanced at Marcus' empty plate. “Did you have enough? Would you like me to fix you something more?”

“I'm okay, Mama.” Marcus shook his head as his mother removed his plate from the table and began to run water to wash the breakfast dishes. “You don't need to do that.”

Florence quieted her son's protest. “I want to.” She kept her back to him. “I am worried about you.”

Marcus didn't doubt his mother's sincerity. But he knew that there was more to her visit than she had just stated. “What do you want, Mom?” The question was not asked unkindly.

His mother shut off the running water. “I was worried about how yesterday might have affected you,” she replied quietly, finally turning around. “It couldn't have been easy helping to send your brother to a place like Pentonville for the rest of his life.”

“Sonny made his choices. He got caught. Making sure that he pays his debt to society is my job.” Marcus shrugged. “Yesterday was no different from any of the other hundred or so times I've sent criminals to prison.”

“I don't believe that.”

Marcus clenched his teeth in sudden anger. “I will make a deal with you, Mom. You stop mentioning my brother to me every five minutes and then you won't have any reasons to worry about me.”


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