He's spent most of the time on his phone, playing Angry Birds, tweeting, messaging his daughter, dodging angry calls from Paula, more Angry Birds … he has to grin at the unintentional allegory. Eventually he settles back, closes his eyes and tries to get some rest.
He doesn't know what it is that made him open his eyes, he isn't even sure if he's been asleep or not, but something has woken him up, or at least stirred him to consciousness. Then he sees her through the windscreen, the streetlights glinting on her helmet as she slips it on. He sits up straight, pulls the seat back up into its correct position and checks the time.
2:40 am, much too early for work, she could of course be going to some night club, but he's excited now, maybe he's finally going to get his break. He waits till she's almost at the end of the street before turning on the ignition whilst keeping the car lights off. As soon as he sees her swing right at the intersection he pulls out, switching on the lights and heading as fast as is prudent to the intersection.
He can make out the single tail light in the distance and follows it, speeding up as soon as she's turned out of sight and slowing down again when he's on the same stretch as her, keeping at least a block or two between them.
He recognises the area as the Bowery and it's after she's taken a couple of turns that he realises he's lost her. Shit! He drives around slowly, hand hammering in frustration on the steering wheel as he looks for her bike. Maybe she made him and is now heading up to Alphabet City or the Flatiron District, laughing into the night at his path...
It's the flash of a passing taxi's headlights on a darkened area of pavement that catches his attention. He slows down. There's little traffic at this time of night and in this area, so he reverses slowly to where he thinks he's seen something. He puts the warning light on, climbs out of the car and heads across the street to the dark area under a fire escape. He leans down, checks the plates and almost lets out a cry of satisfaction. It's hers.
He heads back to the car and looks for somewhere to pull in. There's a side street a bit further along, but it's one-way and no good to him. A bit further along he finds a space. It's a squeeze but he manages to park the car. Adjusting the wing mirror he can make out the area where the bike's parked, he can't see the bike but he will be able to see her pull out onto the road and if she heads this way he'll be able to pull out and follow her, if she heads back the other way he should have enough space to turn right round and try to catch her up. He climbs out of the car and looks around him. Nearly everywhere is dark, few lights on anywhere. Most of this area is composed of small businesses whose owners and staff would be in bed and asleep at this time. The chill gets to him and so he climbs back into the car, restlessly adjusting rear-view mirror to increase his field of view.
He's been there for over an hour, wondering if he's got it right, maybe she's visiting a boyfriend? Maybe she's working night shifts somewhere ... its then he hears the first of the sirens in the distance. Several minutes later a patrol car comes past him, turns right at the next intersection and he can hear the wailing of its siren winding down as it pulls up probably no more than a block or two away. He sits up. Maybe it has something to do with her, maybe not.
He's thinking of climbing out of the car and having a peek round the corner when his attention is drawn two ways at once. He's picked up a second patrol car in the wing mirror, crawling slowly along and heading his way. At the same time he's spotted a figure walking towards him along the pavement. He's not too sure, but height, shape and haircut look familiar, and whoever it is seems to be clinging to the wall every few steps. His eyes flicker between the slowly approaching police car behind and the even slower approach of the figure from in front. Another few minutes and both will meet.
As she draws level with the car he leans over, grabs the handle of the passenger door and pushes it open, "Get in, quick!"
She startles, almost jumps back before shock registers on her face as she takes him in. There's a look of panic on her face, then she's looking over the top of the cars behind his at the approaching red and blue lights. She looks over her shoulder, obviously considering heading back in the direction she's come from.
He wants to yell at her, tell her to get in, but he thinks any sudden noise and she'll bolt. She must have come to a decision, because suddenly she's moving, sliding into the seat beside him and pulling the door closed without slamming it. He's staring at her, taking in the features that are both so familiar yet different, her eyes are larger in her face than he remembers, there's a pinched look of pain about her eyes and mouth he doesn't remember. She's staring at him, her body squeezed back against the door, trying to put as much space as possible between them in the confined space of his car.
The patrol car drives slowly past, advances just beyond the car ahead before the brake lights come on and then it slowly reverses back. He leans across, grabs her arm and pulls her towards him, ignoring her almost panicked look he whispers urgently "Just go with it!"
His hand slides up her arm, settles round the back of her neck and he pulls her head towards him. He can feel her tensing up, can feel her taking in a lungful of air prior to screaming or yelling at him, her eyes dark pools of anger and fear. Then suddenly she must realise what he's doing. Her forehead comes to rest against his, her eyes slam closed and the hiccup in her breath tells him she's not going to scream, at least not yet.
The interior of the car is suddenly bathed in white light as the cops train the wing-mounted spotlight at them. They both try to ignore it, he cups her face with his hand, using it to cover her features whilst trying to make it look like he's stroking her cheeks and running his hand through her hair, which come to think of it, he is!
He can feel her tensed up, ready to run, then thankfully the light is turned off and they can hear the patrol car continue on it way. They remain unmoving for several minutes, he staring at the face just inches away from his own, she, eyes closed, breath held, immobile and seemingly frozen in time and place ...