The following weeks passed slowly, I was stuck in a hotel room with a security guard at my door at all times. As the trial date came closer, I prepared daily with Director Jim, again answering question after question. The more I learned from television about The Kings, the more I feared for my life. I’m glad I was not around when the Gratlands arrived. The news was constantly talking about the big raid. They arrested or shot most of the Kings and the Gratlands. Director Jim said I would not have to face anyone during the trial. I had been speaking with the judge in private, during the trial. Some of the guys faced the death penalty, others prison. I hoped Matt would be sentenced to death.
The news said he had been involved with gangs since middle school. I thought about Tommy too. He must have been devastated to hear about Michael. He was facing jail for sure, I was told. Michael’s name was mentioned once, simply stating that he, a member of the Kings, and an unidentified woman, being me, were killed during the raid. Director Jim explained to me, it would be best if everyone involved thought I was dead, so the story was actually changed a little for the public. I couldn’t wait to put this all behind me. I wanted to start a new life, to move on. I struggled with my emotions for Michael, still. I missed him.
Director Jim told me how it’s not unusual for a captive to feel a dependency towards the person who abducted them. But, my circumstances were different, that’s not what I felt for Michael. I loved him, strange as it may be. I could not deny it. He was not someone I would have ever willingly dated, knowing his history. I often daydreamed of our pretend meeting in the grocery store and what we might have become under different circumstances.
There was a knock at the hotel. I opened it and seen Director Jim. “Hello Allison.”
“Hi, do we have more to cover today?” I was so tired of the continuity.
“No. I came by to let you know personally, that it’s done, the verdicts are in and we won the war,” he smiled. “I didn’t want you to just hear it on the news.”
“It’s over, finally! What happened to Matt?”
“He’s getting the death penalty.”
“He’ll be in a good ten years. You ready to start your new life, Allison? Or I should say Lisa. That’s your new name.” He handed me a large envelope. “This has all the official documents you’ll need, birth certificate, social security number etc. You’ll be going to Arkansas, in the morning. You won’t need the security guard anymore. If you need anything, you call me personally. My number is in with your papers.”
“Thanks. Do all of your witnesses get such special attention?” I teased.
“Nope, I was told you are very special.”
“Thank you for everything Director.”
“Your very welcome.”
That night I laid in bed trying to comprehend what my new life would be like. I just couldn’t let go of Michael, maybe because there was no funeral, no goodbye. I longed for him, his touch, his company, he always made me feel safe. I missed him. I was nervous, but also somewhat excited to start over. I wanted to do things different this time. I wanted to have more friends, to go out more often, to experience more in life than before. I went through my papers from Jim. I would not only have a new name, but a job, an apartment and a car too.
“Ready to go Ms. Allison,” said the guard at the door, early the next morning. I opened the door, “I’m ready.”
I was escorted to the airport and then I was on my own. It was my first time flying and I was nervous. I closed my eyes for most of the flight.
“I was told you are very special.” I remembered Jim saying that yesterday, Who would tell him that? What does that even mean? I have to stop rehashing everything. I have to just forget it all, it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s over and done.
My car was waiting for me, just as Jim had said, everything seemed to be taken care of. My apartment was only a fifteen minute drive from the airport. I passed a lot of stores along the way, restaurants too. It looked like all the conveniences were close by. I turned the key and opened the door, to my new life, literally.
The apartment was charming. It had built in cabinets, a TV, and a couch. I walked to the kitchen, open the cabinets, they were fully stocked; dishes, pots, silverware, everything I needed. The bedroom had all of the standard furnishings too. Wow! I thought. Everything I need is here, everything except Michael. Stop! I told myself, just stop!
I decided to swing by the grocery store, to pick up a few things. I was even given a prepaid credit card with several thousand dollars to get me settled, before my first paycheck. I had a full week before I started. I googled the address and rode by the office before shopping. It was close to home too. Everything seemed to be in order.
I entered the elevator, back at the apartment carrying the groceries, when a woman walked in with a little white dog.
“Hello!” she said nicely.
“Hi!” I’m...Lisa,” I hesitated a bit. “He is so cute! Do you live here with him?”
“Yes, I’m on the second floor.”
“Me too.” I struggled to push the button. “So we are allowed pets here?”
“Oh yeah, there’s a dog park around the back of the complex too, not far from the pool area,” she explained.
“I just might get a puppy!” I exclaimed.
“I’m Terry and this is Rosco.”
The elevator opened and we both walked out, into the same direction. “I’m right here, 211,” Terry said.
“I’m just a few doors down, 216.”
“It was nice meeting you, let me know if you get that puppy, we can take walks together!”
“Yes, I will,” I said. She was really nice I thought. I think I would feel much better with dog in the apartment. It would be company! Why not?
The next morning I got up, made breakfast and sat looking out my window. I was happy with the apartment, but did want to go get a few things to make it feel like my home. I decided to dress and head to WalMart! It was a bit strange at first, coming and going as I pleased and adjusting to a normal life again. I was still on guard and not sure I’d ever truly feel safe again.
I picked up several sets of curtains, a few flower arrangements, some new outfits for work and then I saw the pet department. I had never owned anything more than a fish growing up. I walked up and down the aisle. Should I? Yes! I decided quickly and grabbed a bed, some food, a leash a collar. Goodness, having a dog was going to be expensive! Now that I had all of the supplies, I stopped by the SPCA to look.
“Hi! Do you have any puppies?”
“Oh yes! Want to take a look?”
She walked me through the hallway and into the kennel area, “Let me know if you have any questions, I’ll be up front.”
They were all so adorable! How could I choose? There were brown, black and white puppies, all barking for me to pick them. One caught my eye, she was solid black with just a little bit of white that ran down her chin. She scratched at the cage and almost howled for me to pet her. I put my fingers through the cage and she licked them. “Oh! I think your the one, cutie! Huh, you wanna come home with me? Yes you do!” I went back up to the desk. “I found one!”
“Ok great, fill out these papers for me.”
Before I knew it we were off, me and...Callie, that would be my puppies name. I walked her back and forth from the apartment to the car and up the elevator, there was too much to carry in just one trip. So Callie was worn out by the time we settled in. She nestled in my lap as I sat on the couch and we both napped from our busy day. As I rubbed her head, I knew I had made the right decision. I needed company.
I hung the curtains this week. They made the apartment cozy. Callie and I went for our daily trips to the dog park. Every night Terry and I walked the dogs together. I was glad to have a friend. Although it was hard being secretive about my life. I wasn’t allowed to ever tell anyone about The Kings, Michael, or Allison. I was Lisa now. My responses to the normal, “Oh where are you from?” where all lies, all premade for me by the government. But I’m not complaining, I have been given a second chance, thanks to Michael.
Today is my first day of work, I’m nervous. I gated Callie in the kitchen area, “Bye, puppy, see you soon.”
I was going to be the assistant to the CEO of Global Inc. As I walked into the reception area I was greeted by a young girl, “Hello, may I help you?”
“Yes, I’m Lisa, Lisa Banksworth. It’s my first day, I’m supposed to report to Dave Global.”
“Oh yes, welcome! Let me tell him your here, have a seat.”
“Great.” I waited in the lobby, which was very nicely decorated.
“Hello Lisa, I’m glad we finally meet, I’m Dave Global.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“C’mon, I’ll show you around.”
My day flew by, I made a bunch of copies, met lot’s of people, made some phone calls, settled into my office and before I knew it, it was time to leave. I had a few files I had to take home with me, so that I could familiarize myself with the advertising agency, its policies, and clients. I had my own small office adjoining with Mr. Globals. Overall, I had a great day.
Callie was so excited when I got home! We walked, pooped, played in the dog park, had dinner and then went out for our nightly walk with Terry and Rosco.
“Do you want to come out with a few of us next Saturday night? We’re going to the nightclub on 5th Street.”
“Yeah, sure!” I answered with excitement.
“What should I wear?”
“Well, I’d say, show off those curves!” she winked at me.
“I’d have to go shopping then for sure, all I have are slacks, dress shirts and sweats!” we laughed.
“You seeing anyone? Terry asked.
“No. I just got out of a relationship a few months ago, I’m not looking.”
“Looking to just have fun then?”
“I can’t imagine being with someone else yet.” I longed to talk about Michael. I didn’t want to forget him. “How about you? Are you dating someone?”
“No. but I‘m definitely looking to have lots of fun with someone and by fun, I mean crazy wild sex!”
I laughed, “Well, that does sound fun!”
“What happened to your ex?” Terry asked.
“It just didn’t work out, you know, life happens, I got this job and I’m moving on with a new life,” I lied.
“Well, I’m glad you did and I’m glad we met. See you tomorrow, same time. Bye Callie!”
“Ok, bye Rosco!” I said and walked into my apartment.
I wanted to tell Terry more about Michael, but couldn’t. I was not a good liar. I’d just have to keep it to myself, and Callie. That night, I dreamed of Michael. I could feel him touching me, I could feel him inside of me. It was almost as if he were there, for real. I couldn’t forget him, but he’s the only part I wanted to remember. When I showered, I’d see him behind me still, watching me, smiling, and I could feel him caressing me. For four months I shared a shower, a bed and every conversation with him. It was hard moving on, even though it had been two months since Michael was killed, it felt like yesterday to me.
Before I knew it my week had flown by and it was Saturday already. Tonight I’d be going out with Terry and her friends. I’d been so busy with work and Callie that I forgot all about going to the store for a new outfit! So, today, shopping was added to the agenda.
I must have tried one two hundred outfits! I didn’t know what to wear. I went from simple sun dress to sexy red tight fitting spandex thing. Finally, I decided on a plain, blue, simple knee length dress. It was flattering and comfortable and I was done trying on clothes.
Back home, I put on some make up, blow dried my hair, and stood looking in the mirror. I looked good. It was nice to fuss over myself again, it had been a long time. I should have gone for a pedicure and massage, I thought to myself. That list...the one I had told Michael about, I had to do everything on it, all the things I had missed doing while at the compound.
There was a knock at the door.
“Hello! Are you ready?” Terry shouted.
“Yes! Coming!” I opened the door.
“You look nice,” she said to me.
“You too!” I said to her. She was wearing a skimpy black, tight fitting dress, if she bent over her whole butt would have been exposed, am I’m not sure she had underwear on!
“I was going for HOT, not nice,” she twirled around in front of me.
“I think you got it for sure, you do look very HOT!”
She smiled, “And you were going for? I don’t know, maybe, I want to be your best friend look? Not have crazy wild sex look!” she teased.
“Ouch! But your right, hot’s not the look I was going for.”
“Job accomplished.” She grabbed my hand, “C’mon, let’s try some of my stuff on you.”
She dragged me down the hallway to her apartment.
“I don’t know, I’m not used to dresses like your wearing, I mean, it looks great on you, but it’s just not me.”
“No arguments.” She scrambled through her closet, throwing things on the bed. I tried to keep an open mind. “Go on start trying on!” she commanded.
The first outfit was flashy with sparkles and bright colors, it was skin tight. “I love it on you!” she shouted.
“I don’t think this is the one.” I took it off and went through several more.
“Oh that’s it Lisa, look at yourself!”
I stood in front of her mirror and hardly recognized myself. It was also skin tight, short, showed my curves and cleavage. It was white and my dark hair stood out. It was a simple dress that fit me well. “I can do this one,” I said and smiled.
“Watch out men, cause two hotties are coming! Hopefully, literally cumming tonight!” she winked and laughed. I nearly snorted, I laughed so hard.