Chapter 9: Him
"Fire?! What do you mean there was a fire?!" I shout at the TV. "I have to go. I have to go see if she's okay! Oh my gosh…" I run around my apartment, grabbing clothes and shoes and checking my wallet and fly around the room. I dash down the stairs and start running for her hotel.
There was a policeman taping off the building.
"Excuse me. There was a woman here…"
"Look buddy, there were a lot of women around here last night. You want to go track her down, good luck. Most of them moved to another hotel, a few went to stay with friends, since no one can leave the state. There's no one around here. You can look on the street for her stuff, we had 5 fatalities. She might have been one of them. Don't cross the line, but lots of stuff is out here from the rooms." He gestured around him at the mess of pillows, books and suitcases.
I started marching around the mess of stuff for over half an hour, and finally found a very burnt copy of her book. A little bit down the sidewalk I found her suitcase.
'Thank the Lord!' I pick it up, since it was knocked on its side, and found a few other things there. Her knitting project was there, along with a pillow and a room key for Room 333. 'This stuff isn't burnt. She probably made it out. Please, dear Lord, let her be alive.'
"Hey, buddy! You find anything?" the cop calls out at me.
"Yeah! I found her suitcase. Can I take it? And this other stuff too? It was all in a pile."
"Sure! Just get it off the street, before we have to donate it."
"You don't need it for evidence and stuff?" I ask picking up the suitcase.
"We've already gone over everything. The place was a chemical fire, set by drug usage on the third floor." He smiled at me as I finished picking up the things. "We've even got it down to one section of the building and in three different rooms."
"Yeah? Which ones?"
"Umm… rooms 331, 332, and 333."
'Oh no. She might have been the one…' no. Must stop this. Must not have doubts. But I don't even know her. I mean, everything she puts on her blog has been kind of snide and sarcastic, maybe she was just high… No! I have to stop. Have to stop.
What am I going to do? I can't find her… and I don't have her number, and she's not even from here… but I know her agent. Cassandra. That's it! I'll find Cassandra… who happens to be…
I check my watch. It reads 9:14. Oh my gosh! I'm late for work and Cassandra had an appointment with one of my co-workers almost 10 minutes ago.
I run down the street, desperate to get to work, even though I know how late I am, I've got to get there. I have to find her.
I arrive at about 9:45.
"Judy!" I must look nuts, carrying a woman's suitcase and this pillow thing and tote bag. "Is Cassandra still here?"
"Yeah. She should be about done though. Down the hall in the old conference room. Why?"
"I need to talk to her! Thanks!" I dash down the hall and stop right outside the door. I hear voices inside and my co-worker walks out.
"Shh. She's on the phone. Hang on a minute man. I'm sure she'll be happy to be your agent too." He smiles at me. This guy never smiles. Must have gone well.
"Yeah, no problem. Nice suitcase." I roll my eyes at him.
On the other side of the door I hear Cassandra talking in a panicked voice. "What do you mean your hotel burned down?" a slight pause. "You're where?" another pause. "Okay." Another bit of silence comes over for a while. "Do you have your suitcase? … Yeah… yeah… Okay. I'll go get it. What else? You want donuts? Cake? … Cheesecake? Who eats cheesecake for breakfast?" I hear her laugh. "You do. Of course Eliza dear. Cheesecake. Chocolate. Got it. Love you, bye!"
She opens the door and notices me standing there.
"Hi!" I hand her the suitcase and tote.
"Umm… hi. Who are you?" she sees everything I'm carrying and am dumping on her. "Why do you have Miss Rein's stuff?"
"I'm Jack. Jack McPherson. I just heard about her hotel and went by to see if she was—"
"Hold on, I know you. You're the most dedicated fan of all time to her! You're the stalker guy!"
"Umm yeah, I guess so. Anyway, you have her stuff, so I'm sure she'll want it, and I'll see you!" I dash off to clock in and get some work done before lunch. I'll probably work through it, just to make up time. Sheesh. I'm losing it.