After a quick update, it was clear that they were still in surveillance mode. Between Taylor and Brad they were tracking the Monster’s whereabouts 24/7. Reginald had parked in the apartment building’s parking lot for hours at a time, attempted to get inside, and even stopped in at the gym and attempted to obtain a membership. That pencil dick had no idea what he was getting into. Boss was not going to give him a fee he could afford, not by a long shot.
But his team had questions. Questions that Ann could answer much more quickly than they could dig up the information themselves. He needed to see if she was willing to answer them, so he headed for the door. When he made his way back down to the beach, he saw that she was yet again dreaming. He wondered how she survived with zero calorie intake and zero sleep. Her body must just be in chaos.
This time she was talking in her sleep. “No, no!…. I will never love you, Mr. Anderson!… Please Don’t!… Not again!… I’ll do anything… ow!… I need to run… Go legs go. Faster!” He couldn’t take it for another second longer. It was interesting to get an insight into her head, but this was not what he was hoping for. Not at all.
He gently woke her up, and again she was rigid in fear, her breathing was ragged, and she was reluctant to look him in the eye. “You’re ok,” he repeated. “You’re ok.”
She finally calmed down, and she gave him a stiff smile. “I escaped him, you know.” She started, still curled up in the blanket on the sand. “I got away from him not once, but twice.”
“I know, baby. I know,” he said as she situated himself beside her.
“Of course,” she continued, “that also means I was dumb enough to get snared by him more than once. But I never gave up.”
“I know, baby, you’re tough. You can do anything you put your mind to.”
She recovered much more quickly this time, or she at least tried to. She had sweat beaded on her forehead despite the plummeting temperatures, and her muscles were still rigid, but she attempted a playful tone over the shaky one and asked, “Did you come back for more Truth and Dare?”
“No”, he said with a heaviness in his heart. The guys needed more information. He knew the line of questioning would be unbearable to her, but necessary in order to catch Mr. Anderson.
“The guys have questions. I wanted to know how you felt about answering them,” he asked, his heart telling him to save her from this firing squad, but his brain knowing it was the most logical decision. Either way she answered he would fine with.
Her gaze again went distant. She seemed to look through him, and then away. She took a couple deep breaths and answered, “Yes, whatever they need. Whatever they need to keep themselves safe.”
Of course she would do it for them. He should have known that from the beginning.
“They’re all up at the cabin, whenever you’re ready.” Her face had gone white; he literally watched the color drain out the bottom. She had been through these types of interrogations before only to be accused of malicious unsubstantiated falsehoods. This would not be easy.
She went to stand up, and she stumbled a bit. He helped steady her, regretting ever asking her. “You don’t have to, Ann, it’s all up to you. Doesn’t have to be now.”
She took a couple shaky steps forward, slowly, intent on completing the task. He took her arm, much the way he did on their many walks back to her apartment building, but this time she was shaking.
She tried to joke off her physical reaction. “I just have been a bit too lazy today, no exercise and a ton of calories, I’ll be all right.” He knew better. He knew what it felt like to be questioned, criticized, asked questions about things that should have been obvious at the time but wasn’t. He knew the line of fire she was about to endure, but they had lost track of the Monster. Somehow he had evaded their heavy surveillance, and they needed to figure out how.
When they reached the cabin, her footing was steadier and color had returned to her face. Her determination was a force to be reckoned with. Everyone was waiting for her in the living room, and she took a seat.
“Hey Ann, we are having a few technical difficulties and are hoping you could help fill some holes for us.”
“Ok” she said, meekly.
“Can you tell us everything you know, from the very start? As much detail as possible, even if it seems inconsequential.”
She took a deep breath and began. “My real name is Anna Marie Buchanon. I was born and raised in Junction Hills, North Carolina. I graduated high school with honors, got into a top design college, and graduated with distinction. I worked for a couple large interior design firms before I branched out on my own at age 24. My small business quickly blew up nationally, and I was able to pick and choose my clients from coast to coast. I loved this, as it afforded me the opportunity to travel and see the country a bit. I am not bragging, I am just letting you know that the lies the Monster, I mean Reginald Anderson, has spread are absolutely inaccurate and I have worked for everything I have. Or had I guess.”
Tucker nodded, urging her on.
“Just about three years ago I was asked to do a favor for some friends. One of their relatives was renovating a large complex in my hometown, and they wanted my mark on the place. It was business as usual; however, each phone call was just odd, and each personal meeting always ended in a request for a date. I always declined him, and he never took it well. Eventually he became fixated on me and was determined to make me his forever.” Her hand traveled to her stomach. “No matter what.”
“Can you tell me about his business?” Boss asked. “Who were his contacts? Aliases?” Brad fired away next. “Can I get names of your friends, how they are related to you? Where does he tend to find you?” Taylor chimed in, “Which PDs have you reported to?” “What towns have you lived in?” The questions came at rapid fire pace, but she hung in there, answering everything she could, and giving as much information as possible.
Nearly two hours later, they took the information they had and went to work.