She had grown to appreciate the silence. Before all of this started, she loved the fast pace of the city, she loved the all night clubs the endless stream of people, and she loved keeping busy morning til night every single day.
She had been on her own on the run for two and a half years already. She handed the management of her company to her best executive, and they had been keeping it afloat, but it wasn’t the same. She yearned to do what she loved, but she was learning to sit back and notice the details, such as how much the scent of a room can change people’s attitudes and how adding a texture can keep the mind busy longer and happier while waiting for an appointment. She knew certain colors were always used in board rooms as they evoked an emotion of leadership, and others were used in reception areas as to subtly calm the mass of people, and she was taking these details in at each new place she worked.
These details came to her at odd times, such as now. The intense line of questioning was fired away in an old living room, with wood paneling walls, and old brown carpet. Not exactly the mood she would have set herself. However, she knew she had the serenity of the river to return to, and the peace of the moon and stars that night to retreat to.
When everyone was done and went their separate ways, she stayed glued to the old couch. She had to stop running when things got tough. She had to quit hiding out at the riverbed. She had to face this situation head on.
Her mind reeled. How could she help? What could she do? She racked her brain again, the same way she had since their escape Friday. She was so used to doing this on her own, at her own pace, with only herself to worry about. Dealing with so many players this time was easily overwhelming.
In the silence, she learned she could hear the others down the hall. Brad was taking a phone call with his daughter on speaker phone, “Hi honey! Happy Birthday! Wish I could be there, too. Love you!” and her heart stopped. He was missing his daughter’s birthday to chase her Monster.
He hung up, and the next sounds were voices from a video recording. Taylor must be reviewing footage. This intrigued her, so she meandered that way. She stood outside the doorway, not announcing herself, and just looked around. The bedroom had been turned into a makeshift surveillance center. He had two computer monitors, and many screens on each. She looked at them. One focused on the entrance to the gym. Another on the front of Tucker’s house. Yet another on the front yard of her apartment building. She stopped in her tracks when she noticed another one focused on the inside of her apartment. She was mortified beyond belief that everyone, well at least Boss and now Taylor, knew what her apartment looked like.
“Kind of overwhelming at first, but it’s necessary in order to do the job properly” Taylor said, breaking her from her visual exploration of the room. She looked at him, shocked, not knowing what to say.
“Who all has seen my apartment?” she asked.
“Everyone in this cabin has access to it,” he informed her.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit. How much more of her soul would she need to bare to the world?
She stepped in to take a closer look. Something wasn’t right. Her books were spread about the room, not neatly stacked. She looked more closely and noted that her flowers from Tucker were smashed on the kitchen floor, pieces of glass and decorative rock strewn across the room, the attached note nowhere in sight. The camera to her bedroom showed that her bed was neatly made. This she sometimes did, but she never once folded the sheets back the way they were now. “Who touched all my stuff?” she asked.
“No one that we know of. Boss took your suitcase and a quilt, but the rest was left untouched.”
“When did the Monster make it to my apartment?” she asked.
“Before we arrived to install the cameras.” He said, cautiously.
“So you don’t have any evidence of him breaking the restraining order?”
“Nothing so far. I’m sorry, ma’am.”
“Please call me Anna.” Her real name sounding foreign on her own tongue. “Where is he now?” she continued.
“I’m sorry to say that he has evaded our surveillance at the moment. He last parked his car about a block away from Tucker’s, but we have not found any footage of him entering the home, or any other place of business since. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.”
Ugh. The thought of him being on the loose didn’t sit well.
“Thank you. For everything. I really appreciate it.”
She then left, and headed back down the hall. The next room was Brad’s and he was in another converted bedroom. She could see him sitting at the desk, his laptop open and running. She tried to step in quietly, so as not to disturb him, but he easily caught her.
“I just wanted to say thanks, for everything. I know you drove a long way to get here on the drop of a hat.”
“It’s no problem, my pleasure.” He responded. He noticed her hesitancy to leave, so he waved her over. “Just having some fun” he said. “I pulled up all of his credit card information, business loan information and contacts, and am running backgrounds checks on everyone.” Again this seemed to line up with what he said, as he had his screen split into smaller sections and tabs.
She studied the screens for a moment.
“What are you seeing?” Taylor asked inquisitively. Her eyes had landed on the Martin Bahr credit, and she wondered why Reginald had poured so much money into the private detective company in town. Martin Bahr was an old friend of a friend of hers, and she couldn’t imagine he would involve himself with the likes of Reginald. But then again, she had.
“Martin Bahr was an acquaintance of mine. He has his own private detective business now, but it’s listed as Martin Bahr Investments, I am just trying to figure out why it was labeled that way” she said, truthfully. Brad’s eyes widened and he quickly shot off a few more questions, and his fingers typed feverishly, pulling up this and that.
“That’s the missing link” Brad said quickly, “You really are as smart as Tucker says” he said more to himself than her.
“Thanks” she said finally “Let me know if I can help in any other way.”
“You’ve done more than most are able in your situation, but I’ll keep that in mind,” replied Brad.
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