8 - Sam
It feels like a long ten minutes. I trace my steps back to the waiting area in the lobby, Chris and Ashley already there. She's huddled over herself with Chris wrapping his arm around her shoulders, pulling her to his chest. "I ruined everything," she hiccups, her voice poisoned with anger at herself.
"No," Chris murmurs against her hair. "No, you did what you had to."
"But," she sniffles, swiping her wrist under her nose. "Now Mike is going to go to prison and it's all my fault!"
"If Mike's going to go to prison," I step forward, their heads turning at the sound of my voice. "It'll be his own fault." I can hear my own words breaking but I act like I never heard it.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't wish I could have convinced Mike not to shoot. I dream that I manage to say the exact words to get him to put that gun down, that the bullet doesn't race through Emily's skull. But I wake up and remember the world is absent of Emily and Mike is going to be prosecuted for her murder.
"Did you get to see him?" Chris asks, turning his attention to me.
I solemnly shake my head. "They say he's only letting his lawyer see him now," I explain, riffling in my pocket and pulling out my cell phone.
I click the power button on, relieved to see the screen come to life after having been put to sleep for the duration of the trial. Maybe they'll let me at least text him - providing his cell phone hasn't been confiscated. I want to let Mike know his wolf is safe, that he's being looked after by a very reluctant, elderly neighbour half the size of him.
My cell phone pings to life before I can even open a new text. A new blog comment notification. With raised eyebrows, I click on the notice only to be directed to the comment section of my most recent blog post.
Check this out.
The comment is preceded by a blue hyperlink to a website. Cautiously curious, I click on the link which flies me off in the direction of the website.
The website takes a few moments to load, a black background emerging slowly.
My throat closes up.
"What the hell?!" My voice breaks as I stare at the screen of my cell phone.
"What?" Chris asks suddenly, standing to his feet and hovering behind me to look over my shoulder. Ashley, uncomfortable on her own, quickly follows, her hand hooking into Chris' elbow.
There, on the screen, is a website riddled with pictures of us. Me, outside the New York Times tower, Chris heading into the prison, Jessica leaving it. Wolf accompanying me out of Chris and Ashley's apartment building. A few distinct pictures of Matt. More photos of us from earlier today.
DING! One new post.
It's a picture of us, huddled together over my cell phone in the lobby of the court house.
"Holy crap," my heart pounds as I whisper underneath my breath. I can hear Chris swear behind me, my fingers shaking, almost dropping the phone.
Somebody's watching us.