Blair was still a little jittery with leftover adrenaline, and it was hard for him to hold still while the EMT checked out his hand.
"Hey, how'd this happen?" asked the EMT, whose name tag said 'Manny'. "Most of the passengers are complaining about hearing loss from the blast or a few cuts from the flying debris."
Blair blushed. "I, er, I punched out Veronica Sarris while she and I struggled for a gun." Manny stared at Blair, making him feel even more defensive. "Hey, she would have blown up everyone, you know, and she was trying to stop Jim from finding the bomb. I had to do something. Man, she's stronger than she looks."
"Wait, you weren't a passenger? You were there with Ellison?"
"Well, technically I was a passenger. But I wasn't a paying passenger, you know, a tourist. I just got on the bus because I saw Sarris get on the bus and I was following her. So I could let Detective Ellison know where we were going." He then looked down. "I guess I didn't think about it, because I had his phone, so how was I going to get in touch with him? Anyway, that's why I was on the bus."
"So, you're working with the Ice Man? Wow, you're brave--or stupid."
"Who's the Ice Man?" Blair looked confused for a moment. "Oh, you mean Ellison? Because of the eyes, right? They're like two chips of ice. They even glitter a little." Blair thought about those eyes. I wouldn't call them ice blue, more like sky blue, he thought, remembering how amazing it was to be eye-to-eye with Jim in his office. Despite being shoved up against the wall, he'd felt this crazy impulse to kiss him.
The two EMTs laughed. "No," said Manny, who was starting to wrap his hand with an Ace bandage. "Because when you do or say something he doesn't like, he stares at you. It's like being hit with Mr. Freeze's freeze gun," he said, shuddering. "I've seen it turned on perps and uniforms alike. You'd better not piss him off."
"Hey, enough with the gossip, Manny," Joel Taggert said, as he approached the back of the ambulance. "Are you done here? I'm sure there are a few more passengers that need to be checked out."
"Sure, Captain, sorry about that." He shoved a clip board with a medical form on it toward Blair. "Just sign this stating that you didn't want to be transported to the hospital and we can let you go."
Blair signed the form, wincing a little as his hand closed around the pen. Manny gave him one of the copies and left with a "Good luck."
"Don't listen to those guys," Joel said. "Jim Ellison is the best cop I've ever worked with. He just gets a little intense."
Blair nodded. "I can see that. It was pretty amazing watching him figure out about Sarris."
"I'm Joel Taggert of Cascade's Bomb Squad and I've got a question for you. We recovered this from the bus and no other passenger has claimed it." He held up Blair's camcorder.
"Oh, wow, thank you so much for grabbing that. It's borrowed, and I'd be in deep shit if I'd lost it." He blushed. "Sorry about that."
"No problem. I need some information. First, what's your full name, address and phone number?"
"Blair Sandburg. S-a-n-d-b-u-r-g. I live on State Street, but I don't have a phone there. It's easier to reach me at Rainier. I work in the Anthropology Department. My number there is 555-6719."
Joel wrote it all down in a small notebook. "Okay. Now, I need to see what's on the tape."
"Well, there's not much. I started to record it, but Ellison wanted me to stop." He queued up the tape to when he first started recording on the bus. As they watched the recorder's small screen, Veronica was plainly seen being taken down by Jim. After Jim orders Blair to put the recorder down, it ends up pointing toward the floor of the bus, but they could clearly hear Jim asking her where the bomb was and her accusing Jim of letting people die. At that point, the camera stopped recording.
"I need that tape."
Blair cradled it toward him. "No way! I have a lot of things on it that I need for my work."
"Come on, Sandburg, give me the tape. It'll make my job a lot easier. Come on, we can subpoena it for evidence anyway."
"All right, but you gotta promise me you're gonna give me it back."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
At that moment, Jim showed up at the side of the ambulance. "He'll promise, he'll promise. You'll get your tape back, Sandburg."
"Wait a minute. You know this guy?" he asked, giving Blair a wink and a small smile.
"Yeah," Jim answered. "My new partner." He walked away.
Blair picked up his backpack and slung it over his shoulder. "I gotta go. Just don't forget about that tape, man."
"I won't. Don't forget what I said about Jim. He's good people."
Blair nodded and left, trotting to catch up with Jim. "Partner? Are you serious?"
"Well, yeah. Every, uh, what's it called, Sentinel needs one. Isn't that what the book said?"
Blair grinned and nodded. Wow, he thought, forgetting for the moment how terrifying it had been on the bus, this is going to be amazing!