Kate was hoping her father would get off her back and get down to the business of cluing her in. Not that she was disrespectful. The truth was the NYPD occupied a special place in her heart almost from the moment the sleeve of her father’s blue serge uniform first rubbed against his infant daughter’s puffy pink cheek.
It wasn’t just Paul Conway. It was Paul and his brother and their brother-in law who formed the Conway detective family and Kate was fully aware of how they stuck together as a clan. Duty. Loyalty. Family pride. It was all she knew growing up.
Kate officially won her admission to the clan on a certain lazy spring afternoon. A freshman scholarship student at Hunter College, she spent evenings running a check-out line at D’Agostino’s while waiting for the bartending job at Hanratty’s to open up.
Coming down the staircase between classes, she heard the sirens. She stole a look through the second floor window. Police cruisers and a crowd were forming just three blocks north on Lexington. A cell phone rang saying it was a bank holdup.
And that was when she knew—knew as certain as the sun rising over Jamaica Bay—that her father was involved and in danger.
She raced down the stairs and up the three blocks to the scene. Sure enough, Paul Conway was lying unconscious against the curb, medics feeding him oxygen while holding compresses against his blood-spattered open shirt. Two bodies were lying behind him under white sheets.
Kate forced her way through the crowd and kneeled beside him. Then she conned her way into the ambulance and held his hand on the way to Lennox Hill.
The surgeons removed the bullet from his stomach but left the other still lodged in his right lung. Removing it was too risky.
“Think of it as a good luck charm,” the chief surgeon said.
After surgery, when they pushed the gurney through the throng of reporters in the hallway outside intensive care—there was Kate! Her face was the first thing Paul saw when he opened his eyes.
“Those big green Conway eyes raining tears but smiling like Mother Mary, it was the most welcoming sight in all my life,” he had intoned at the Conway dinner table at least a thousand times.
Conway family loyalty—Kate had been born with it, embraced it, and lived with it all her life. And despite the style and put-on airs of a Fifth Avenue skyscraper office and a career that didn’t permit fawning worship of any kind, it made her proud being a New Yorker who was the daughter of a cop.
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